Award Date

8-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Donald Revell

Second Committee Member

Claudia A. Keelan

Third Committee Member

Megan Becker-Lecrone

Fourth Committee Member

David Beisecker

Number of Pages

73

Abstract

All Aboard the Succulent Wave is a collection of poems written over the past three years. It is the product of major shifts in my faith and trust in language. The manuscript is divided into three parts: "The Staccato Monsoon," "Today / / / A Poetics," and "Elliptics." Each of these sections concerns a particular theme about my language, my god, and my soul.

I wrote many poems that used language to find god. In these poems, those designated by "/ / / A Poetics," I write about what is holy to me in the moment and about how the instantaneous sense of my spirit propels language naturally. My poetics refers to isolated - though similar and familial - attempts to articulate my faith-in-words and, therefore, the sublime.

I spent much of my time as a creative writer questioning the purpose of poetry, demanding that it speak for some unfamiliar community or generation - a poetics of experience, progress, and humans. Those were disturbing times. The "/ / / A Poetics" poems indicate my faith in myself, in the momentousness of poetry and its bright logic against the stuffy trough of the past. I can say with some certainty now that I believe I exist because of the poems in time.

There is no choice between language and god. The two are the same: a process. God flits when language does, and language leaks when god happens. This is why faith is essential to my poetry. It is a secular faith in the power of language to irrupt into newness, into time. Hopefully that is where god is, my origin (speaking from my soul). So experience comes into play somehow - it's always there - but experience is never the point.

These poems testify to moments when I felt relief from my doubt as I wrote. I can remember when and how I wrote most of them. These were memorable times because I felt the time and articulated it. When I could not or would not articulate time, I wrote bad poems. It was very difficult to let myself stop writing when I had nothing to say, when I didn't believe in anything, simply living along and perhaps reading the news. But when this lapsing became a load, I wrote. My writing, at its happiest, happened as I decided to write, perforating my doubt with wonderful pricks of faith. I tried to tell myself what I wanted when I wrote and why I wrote about god and my soul.

Thank you Claudia Keelan and Donald Revell and all the poets they introduced me to. I mean especially the French poets and the newish American writers, Lyn Hejinian, James Tate, and the like. I came to understand American poetry and therefore my aesthetics (leading to my soul) through the work of translated foreigners. Growing up, I never trusted American writers (being one myself). I thought there was something up their sleeve, a stupid trick only a few privileged people knew about, and I wanted something else. Then I read who they read and it all made sense. The Americans' poetry was so much simpler after identifying their foreign models. To paraphrase Robert Hass, everyone is writing about the same thing! Seen in that light, that anticipation for flashes, most poetry was much more interesting and worthy of imitation. Which leads me to these poems I wrote. I hope you enjoy them.

Keywords

Creative writing; Poetry

Disciplines

Creative Writing | Poetry

Language

English


Included in

Poetry Commons

Share

COinS