Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
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These are poems made from many things: color, eggs, oranges, many kinds of seeds, leaves, wind, California, the desert, birds. They are things alive in the world and alive in my heart. I cannot take them out of the world, but from my heart I can have whatever appears on its surface. The language of steam.
They are poems that like to be at home.
California is my home and so is the Mojave (and so is every desert). I live in a valley about four hundred miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the city of Las Vegas. What better place to rejoice in the material of our soul than a city in the middle of the true, beautiful void. This is a place where life and death happen at once, where oleander blooms in June and people sometimes keep Joshua trees in their yard. It is the place where I first understood faith, that it is the ability to believe in what is not there, to know that an empty bowl is actually filled with the whole of humanity.
Ultimately, the poems are most concerned with space. They are enamored with the spaces between us that make us selves, and the spaces inside of other spaces within the heart. They try to look out and look in at the same time; they try to close the spaces between a self and all the other selves in the world, between one thing and another. Like all poems, they try also to close the space between a thing itself and the line it occupies. Of course, these kinds of spaces can never be completely closed. But the reach is what makes a poem believe it is a poem, what gives it its life and place.
Some spaces can be closed. A word follows the one before it and one line comes after another to create something brand new. Here is the "principle of magic", which Jack Spicer defined in a letter to Robin Blaser as the fact that things simply "fit together".
An unseen force draws the words into one another, and it is faith in this force that makes the poems true. Jack Spicer felt the outside coming into his poems, the words delivered to his heart and mind from something and someplace else.
There is a Sanskrit word used in several belief systems to define a fifth element or other spiritual force. The word is Akasha, which means the spiritual essence which fills all space; the sky. As the fifth element, Akasha is the intangible energy which runs through each of the other four elements, encompassing and connecting all things on earth and the universe.
Wind, earth and water are everywhere in these poems. Fire is present as the sun.
American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Poetry
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Salter, Shannon Alice, "About a Yellow Ball" (2012). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 1621.
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