Title

Always Away

Award Date

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Claudia Keelan

Second Committee Member

Donald Revell

Third Committee Member

Richard Wiley

Fourth Committee Member

Giuseppe Natale

Number of Pages

74

Abstract

At any given time, there are pages of notes and thoughts running through our minds; these have to come out in some way. In order to stay sane, to stay human, I write poems. These poems are interested in breath and space, memory and nostalgia, loss and water. Each of these ideas has its own fit as part of the poem as well as part of life and being alive. Human emotion is varied through these. Observation and perception, turned into poems through the very physical act of putting words onto a page, allow these memories and experiences to live on as physical relics. My poems are always working with space--of the page and location. The space afforded to each line, each word, is deliberate and crucial; the pauses created by the whitespace deliver the breath of the line and the weight each line necessitates. My poems were begging to breathe--they needed to be freed from the invisible box that seemed to be containing them. This allowed my writing to be more honest to the experience being conveyed.

My time spent abroad in Barcelona as part of my degree requirement for this program was an experience that not just allowed, but forced me to be more conscious in my writing. I heard English nowhere except for the page. The poems produced during and after those months ("Barcelona Tableaux") are not an exact, detailed record of my experience, but are rather a breath into the memory of my experience. Poetry retains the dead in the beauty of the undead. Nothing can be brought back, not exactly, but we recognize and remember or imagine, so the people and places of the past--things that have been lost--are never truly gone. They live on in poems, where they can be returned to time and time again.

Of course, poetry is constantly dealing with life and death. Because a poem is a recording of the poet's experience, however abstractly, it must be in conversation with humanity, with what it means to be human. My poems are grappling with life and death in terms of space and loss. The whitespace on the page is, in addition to breath, absence. The title of this manuscript, "Always Away," stems from a realization that indeed I have always been far away whenever a loved one has died, but further, it thinks about the gaps between experience, memory, and what finally gets translated to the page. These, too, are human experiences that are, to me, simply fascinating. The failure of memory, which often leads to nostalgia, leaves us with beatific images of our past, and also causes us to pause--to breathe--while recalling or retelling the event.

The poems in this thesis are always struggling to find the truth of the experience. They want to breathe and to feel alive. When the poems are read aloud, the whitespace forces the reader to take these breaths with the line of the poem, to feel the music in the life of the language.

Keywords

Contemporary; Poetry

Disciplines

Poetry

Language

English


Included in

Poetry Commons

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