Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
First Committee Member
Donald Revell, Chair
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Graduate Faculty Representative
Number of Pages
The book is a place, a moral and intellectual site. With any luck, a well-written book calls the real condition of a reader's perception into question. Amid books written for leisure, instruction, or the sake of sheer indulgence, there are those books which can be classified as fated providers of Truth. The function of such books is not mere representation, but rather transformation and transfiguration of the reader's soul--and consequently, the world. As writer/scholar Henry Corbin illustrates:
All the elements [in a work of Symbolic Art] are represented in their real dimension "in the present", in each case perpendicularly to the axis of the viewer's vision. The viewer is not meant to immobilize himself at a particular point, enjoying the privilege of "presentness" and to raise his eyes from this fixed point; he must raise himself toward each of the elements represented. Contemplation of the image becomes a mental itinerary, an inner accomplishment; the image fulfills the function of a mandala. Because each of the elements is presented not in its proper dimension, but being that same dimension, to contemplate them is to enter into a multidimensional world... 1
Let this passage act as retrospective inspiration for my MFA thesis project. Though in my wildest dreams am I not delusional enough to consider what I have created Symbolic Art, I do wish to teeter alongside such a capacity in hopes that (in my wildest dreams) I may someday create a work that falls close to such achievement.
In the pages of my thesis, I attempted to strike a balance between form and formlessness, although I often placed more importance on the energy from which each piece was created, rather than the form each part eventually acquired. This follows my beliefs that 1) form is the debris of energy, 2) the poem is the debris of poetry; and 3) only through the loss of form are we led to the true spirit of things. Or perhaps there are just excused for my inability to commit to one particular shape for this thesis project. My view of the novel as a social contract, as story-telling around the tribal fire, kept me wanting to contribute to the cultural story-telling canon--yet I was born with a poet's soul--and poetry is far from a contract; a poem is created away from the social order, in solitary happiness. Thank you Don for writing, "Humanness is, after all, a little portion shared. But the gospel of happiness...delights in itself all alone."2/
In these pages, you may also find the curiosity of a child integrated with the intellectual and emotional life of an adult. While I crave the clarity rendered from an examined life, I refuse to be corralled by the rational mind. I'm sure this is reflected in my work. As is my love affair with `the new'. To avoid being named and consequently killed, I continue to (very sanely) change my affiliations with the world--always seeking the original and unusual discovery. I experiment. That is who I am. I hope the mirror I've created in which to contemplate my own world is, at the very least, clear enough so that you might catch glimpse of your own reflection. Thanks for reading.
1: The World Turned Inside Out, Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism, by Tom Cheetham
2: From the Translator's afterward found in Arthur Rimbaud's The Illumination, translated by Donald Revell
American Literature | Creative Writing | Desert Ecology | Fine Arts | Literature in English, North America | Modern Literature | Philosophy
Costello, Jaclyn, "Prelude to Artifact" (2011). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 1029.
Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2023