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Description: Preface: A consideration of the New Sincerity movement in contemporary American poetics in the work of Tao Lin, Matt Hart, and Dorothea Lasky. Creative work: A three section book of poetry exploring elegy, form, and the intersection of strangeness and domesticity.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Beard, Christopher Aaron
Partner: UNT Libraries

Lines by Someone Else: the Pragmatics of Apprompted Poems

Description: Over the last sixty years, overtly intertextual poems with titles such as “Poem Beginning with a Line by John Ashbery” and “Poem Ending with a Line by George W. Bush” have been appearing at an increasing rate in magazines and collections. These poems wed themselves to other texts and authors in distinct ways, inviting readers to engage with poems which are, themselves, in conversation with lines from elsewhere. These poems, which I refer to as “apprompted” poems, explicitly challenge readers to investigate the intertextual conversation, and in doing so, they adopt inherent risks. My thesis will chart the various effects these poems can have for readers and the consequences they may hold for the texts from which they borrow. Literary critics such as Harold Bloom and J. H. Miller have described the act of borrowing as competitive and parasitic—“agon” is Bloom’s term for what he sees as the oedipal anxiety of poets and poets’ texts to their antecedents, but an investigation of this emerging genre in terms of linguistic pragmatics shows that apprompted poems are performing a wider range of acts in relation to their predecessors. Unlike Bloom’s theory, which interprets the impulse of poetic creation through psychoanalysis, I employ linguistic terms from Brown and Levinson’s linguistic Politeness theory to analyze apprompted poems as conversational speech events. Politeness theory provides a useful analysis of these poems by documenting the weight of threats to the positive and negative “faces” of the participants in each poetic conversation. I have documented these “face-threatening-acts” and used them to divide apprompted poems into five major speech events: satire, revision, promotion, pastiche, and ecclesiastic. Ultimately, this paper serves at the intersection of literary criticism and linguistics, as I suggest a theoretical approach to the interpretation and criticism of apprompted poems by way of linguistic pragmatics.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Gibson, Kimberly Dawn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Poem by Naat Ahmad

Description: Recording of Naat Ahmad reciting a poem in the Nagar dialect of Burushaski.
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Date: June 26, 2010
Creator: Ahmad, Naat
Partner: UNT College of Information

"Spectral Evidence"

Description: Spectral Evidence is a collection of poems that instigates a variety of omens, signs, divinations, and folktales to explore the concept of wish fulfillment. They arise in obedience to the compulsion to repeat past dramas brought on by failed love, the nostalgia of childhood, the damning legacy of language, the restriction of gender roles, death, etc. In order to quell these anxieties, the speaker looks beyond the self to both history and mythology, often invented mythologies as an attempt to control or recast the story-to give shape to the obscurities of life by creating a system of belief in order to forge meaning or confuse oneself into believing. In many ways this collection is all about belief or in wanting to believe. Through language, God is written into existence. God is the name of the blanket we put over the mystery to give it shape. Here, in this collection, God is an ant's egg. a cherry pit, a colony of white moths, a severed hand, the color red, a little bird. This collection explores these vehicles of meaning, the words that provide the shell of meaning, and the power of invention in hopes to gain control over what is deemed uncontrollable. While the speaker may be casting omens as "pre-ordained" entities outside of her power, it is her convictions in these signs that her own psychological and associative link between their meaning and their appearance that she conjures and creates because the existing systems of language, religion, and belief do not serve her. This creation is what is powerful. It is healing. It is birth. It is not involuntary wish fulfillment. It is the deliberative satisfaction of desire-on of the most insurrectionary acts a woman can execute.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Edwards, Trista Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Circles Where the Head Should Be: Poems

Description: The poems in Circles Where the Head Should Be are full of objects and oddities, bits of news, epic catalogues, and a cast of characters hoping to make sense of it all. Underneath the often whimsical surface, however, lies a search for those connections we long for but so often miss, and a wish for art to bridge the gaps. “Circles Where the Head Should Be has its own distinctive voice, a lively intelligence, insatiable curiosity, and a decided command of form. These qualities play off one another in ways that instruct and delight. An irresistible book.”—J. D. McClatchy, author of Mercury Dressing: Poems, judge
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Date: April 15, 2011
Creator: Wilkinson, Caki
Partner: UNT Press

Booker’s Point

Description: Bernard A. Booker, wry old Maine codger and unofficial mayor of Ell Pond, is the subject of Booker’s Point, an oral history-inspired portrait-in-verse. Weaving storytelling, natural history, and the poetry of place, the collection evokes the sensibility of rural New England and the pleasures of a good story.
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Date: April 2016
Creator: Grumbling, Megan
Partner: UNT Press


Description: In this debut collection, Anna Lena Phillips Bell explores the foothills of the Eastern U.S., and the old-time Appalachian tunes and Piedmont blues she was raised to love. With formal dexterity—in ballads and sonnets, Sapphics and amphibrachs—the poems in Ornament traverse the permeable boundary between the body and the natural world. The contents include: Midafternoon -- Qualifications for one to be climbed by a vine -- Trillium -- Ornament -- Piedmont -- Pears -- Fall swim -- Trifoliate orange -- Unhomemaking -- Mapping -- Girl at the state line -- I'm going back to North Carolina -- Unfinished story -- Limax maximus -- Knot -- The waxweed girl -- Wand -- Proem -- Strapless -- Dishwashing -- Shade -- Crosses -- Bonaparte crossing the Rhine -- Strike -- Green man -- And not look back -- Girl at the state line -- Stitch -- To do in the new year -- The royal typewriter company delivers by parachute, 1927 -- Sunday -- Nesting -- When the fire comes down from heaven -- Honeysuckle -- Early blackberries -- Roustabout -- Overture -- June swim -- Sprout wings and fly -- Hush.
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Date: April 2017
Creator: Bell, Anna Lena Phillips
Partner: UNT Libraries


Description: "Momentarium" is a collection of poems that examines the instability of moments. By engaging with photography, the poems examine the strengths and flaws in representation. Qualified accuracy, in other words representations that exact no absolute authenticity, are paradoxically, most accurate. The original poems attempt to express both empathy an end to empathy, "I mean to give you what you cannot keep: a blue twice as true" and "I mean to give you what I cannot." The competing forces animate a contingent moment, before it becomes the past.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Zuehlke, Karl
Partner: UNT Libraries

Where My Own Grave Is

Description: The preface to this collection, "Against Expectation: The Lyric Narrative," highlights the ways James Wright, Stephen Dunn, and C.K. Williams use narrative to strengthen their poems. Where My Own Grave Is is a collection of poems that uses narrative to engage our historical fascination with death.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Collier, Jordan Taylor
Partner: UNT Libraries


Description: This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, which discusses the elegy of possessive intent, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, Antigravity, a collection of poems. English elegies have been closely rooted to a specific grief, making the poems closer to occasional poems. The poet—or at least the poet’s speaker—seeks some kind of public consolation for (often) a private loss. The Americanized form does stray from the traditional elegy yet retains some of its characteristics. Some American elegies memorialize failed romantic relationships rather than the dead. In their memorials, these speakers seek a completion for the lack the broken relationship has created in the speakers’ lives. What they can’t replace, they substitute with something personal. As the contemporary poem becomes further removed from tradition, it’s no surprise that the elegy has evolved as well. Discussions of elegies have never ventured into the type of elegy that concerns itself with the sort of unacknowledged loss found in some contemporary American poems of unrequited love. These poems all have speakers who willfully refuse to acknowledge the loss of their love-objects and strive to maintain control/ownership of their beloveds even in the face of rejection.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Bowen, Ashley Hamilton
Partner: UNT Libraries

Vulgar Moon

Description: The preface to this collection, "Speculation and Silence," argues that confessional poetry remains integral to contemporary poetics, though the implications of the term have changed since its "first-generation." Confessional poetry must not be dependent on simply the transmission of sensational details and the emotional consequences, but on poets' implementation of silence and restraint in both the diffusion of ideas and in the crafting of the piece. Vulgar Moon is a collection of poems in which I explore the implications of events ranging from erotic love and motherhood, to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, and Jewish history. In addition, these pieces explore the inner workings of the human psyche, both tender and malignant, and the inherent human need for absolution.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Miller, Kelley Reno
Partner: UNT Libraries

El ékfrasis en la Poesía De Manual Machado

Description: Manuel Machado is known as one of the most innovative Spanish modernist poets of the twentieth century. Despite his recognition as a literary figure in Spain, the mimetic descriptions in Machado's poetics are interpreted as mere innovations in Spanish poetry. Those mimetic descriptions are examples of ekphrasis in Spanish literature. Ekphrasis is both a literary and representational art. The mimetic dimension in Machado's poetry is ignored or misinterpreted by the critics of his poetics. This study written in Spanish investigates the use of ekphrasis in terms of Machado's poetic style. An analysis of Manuel Machado's ekphrastic poems will determine: ekphrastic poetry is a representational art; how visual and acoustic aspects of Machado's poems create enargeia; and the manifestation of ekphrasis in Spanish verse. In using Machado's poems, this project will contribute to future explorations of ekphrasis in Spanish literature.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Carrillo, Yolanda
Partner: UNT Libraries

Other Psalms

Description: In his debut collection, Jordan Windholz recasts devotional poetics and traces the line between faith and its loss. Other Psalms gives voice to the skeptic who yet sings to the silence that "swells with the noise of listening." If faith is necessary, this collection suggests, it is necessary as material for its own unmaking. Without a doubt, these are poems worth believing in, announcing, as they do, a new and necessary voice in American poetry. The contents include: Parable -- Myth -- ( psalm ) -- A necessary angel recalls unearthing its terrestrial existence -- The psalm's parable -- Epiphany -- The nomads -- The incarnation -- Of apocalypse -- A prayer -- ( psalm ) -- Gospel -- Ruminant -- The parable's psalm -- ( psalm ) -- Hymn -- Fable -- Intercessory -- Evangel -- Other psalms -- The same old story -- The transfiguration -- The talk -- Bestiary -- The shepherd's song -- Of revelation -- Psalm, stunted -- The heretic.
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Date: April 2015
Creator: Windholz, Jordan
Partner: UNT Press

Fathom's Edge

Description: Investigating elements of the creative process in the work of three poets: James Wright, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, and Pegeen Kelly. Each poet deploys a different method for access to those experiences that lie at the edge of accessible language. Each method is discussed and its deployment illustrated. Wright leads us from the sensory world to the supersensual. Schnackenberg makes use of the formal device of the fairy tale. Kelly immerses in the logic of dreams. Drawing on Elaine Scarry's theory of the imagination, the case is made that the poetic act is a dialectic between the poet and the sensory world, in which perception and imagination are equally important.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Sweeney, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

Letters from Jack and Other Cadavers

Description: My dissertation, Letters from Jack and Other Cadavers, developed out of my interest in using persona, narrative forms, and historical details collected through thorough research to transform personal experience and emotions in my poems. The central series of poems, "Letters from Jack," is written in the voice of Jack the Ripper and set up as a series of poems-as-letters to the police who chased him. The Ripper's sense of self and his motivations are troubled by his search for a muse as the poems become love poems, contrasting the brutality of the historical murders and the atmosphere of late 19th century London with a charismatic speaker not unlike those of Browning's Dramatic Monologues. The dissertation's preface further explores my desire for a level of personal removal while crafting poems in order to temper sentimentality. Drawing on Wallace Stevens's notion that "Sentimentality is failed emotion" and Tony Hoagland's assessment that fear of sentimentality can turn young poets away from narrative forms, I examine my own poems along with those of Scott Cairns, Tim Seibles, and Albert Goldbarth to derive conclusions on the benefits distance, persona, narrative, and detail to downplay excessive emotion and the intrusion of the personal. Poems from the manuscript have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Sybil's Garage, The North Texas Review, and The Sheridan Edwards Review.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Leis, Aaron
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Chorus of Trees

Description: This two-part thesis includes a critical preface and a collection of my poems. Using three poems-Louise Glück's "Lullaby," Bob Hicok's "Poem for My Mother's Hysterectomy," and Nick Flynn's "Memento Mori"-the critical preface examines how, in poetry, the transformation of a body negotiates trauma and triggers a conceptual shift, the creation and revision of identity, and the release of the duende's inspirational force. The collection of poetry that follows seeks to transfigure the body as a way to explore the nuanced traumas of human experience.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Lyons, Renée Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

In the Permanent Collection: Poems

Description: Trying to make sense of a disordered world, Stefanie Wortman's debut collection examines works of art as varied as casts of antique sculpture, 19th-century novels, and even scenes from reality television to investigate the versions of order that they offer. These deft poems yield moments of surprising levity even as they mount a sharp critique of human folly.
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Date: 2014
Creator: Wortman, Stefanie
Partner: UNT Press

Opening Day

Description: Although I've read and written poetry for my own pleasure for about twenty years now, I've only seriously studied and written poetry on a consistent basis for the past two years. In this sense, I still consider myself a beginning poet. When attempting to pursue an art form as refined and historically informed as poetry, only after spending a number of years reading and writing intensively would I no longer consider myself a beginner, but a practitioner of the art. I've grounded my early development as a poet in concision, voice, and imagination, and hope to build upon these ideas with other poetic techniques, theories, and forms as I go forward. I am particularly interested in mastering the sonnet form, a concise and imaginative form that will allow me to further develop my skills. Hopefully, the works in this thesis reflect that effort.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Van Hooser, David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Vanishing Act

Description: This dissertation is comprised of a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface reconsiders the value of discontinuous poetic forms and advocates a return to lyric as an antidote to the toxic aspects of what Tony Hoagland terms “the skittery poem of our moment.” I consider poems by Wendy Xu, Kevin Prufer, Sharon Olds, and Stephen Dunn in depth to facilitate a discussion about the value of a more centrist position between the poles of supreme discontinuity and totalizing continuity. Though poets working in discontinuous forms are rightly skeptical of the hierarchies that govern narrative and linear forms, as Czesław Miłosz notes in The Witness of Poetry, “a poet discovers a secret, namely that he can be faithful to real things only by arranging them hierarchically.” In my own poems, I make use of the hierarchies of ordered perception in lyric and narrative forms to faithfully illuminate the collapsed structures of my own family history in the shadow of Detroit. I practice the principles I advocate in the preface, using a continuous form to address fractured realities in a busy, disordered age when poets often seek forms as fragmented as their perceptions. These poems are distinctly American, but because there is no true royalty in America, our great cultural and economic institutions—television, music, film, magazines, and big business—take the place of the castle (the book’s emblem) while Michael Jackson ultimately rises as the commanding dead king whose passing prompts contemplation of the viability of popular culture, family, history, and geography. The fallen structures that litter the work are many: the twin towers, chess rooks, bounce castles, nuclear families, the auto industry. However, the sole structure cohering the whole is that of a lyric voice whose authority is derived through lived experience and presented in rich, continuous poetic ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Pryor, Caitlin
Partner: UNT Libraries