Title

Might Could

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Art

First Advisor

Liz Countryman

Abstract

This thesis uses poetry to draw attention to the means in which we communicate ourselves and our experience, namely in the aftermath of loss—loss of loved ones, of a sense of home, loss of trust in the veracity of one’s own senses. While exploring these affective spaces, attention was drawn especially to the eye and the translation implicit in the mind’s work of perception. The writing process involved returning to the sites of home—the Outer Banks, the Blue Ridge mountains, Oconee county, the southern stretch of Appalachia—and it is in this dynamic geography that the images, more often natural than not, find their origin. As a result, the use of haiku organically emerged as a means to pair the work of the eye and mind in order to unveil what is seen but goes left unsaid. Its formal influence is stretched across the manuscript, often running up against the differing aesthetic values of other forms. The haiku is collided with the sonnet in the “cape lookout” series, a decision that elucidates the useful commonalities between haiku’s pairing and the sonnet’s volta. It is in these instances of friction that the poems occupy in order to question how we decide to tell ourselves and what gets excised from those decisions. When coupling the two series in the manuscript, “prelude” and “cape lookout,” the difference between what the eye records and what the mind perceives creates ample space for the speaker to recognize identity in light of invention. It is my hope that the collection, once fully realized, will offer something of use to our understanding of the self and our understanding of what decisions are made when we share that self with another.

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