Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
In Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, the narrator wonders, "if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved, and absolutely submitted to." My manuscript, The Problem of Naming is an attempt to explore the idea of home, as both a place and a people, and to affirm it is still "profoundly felt." The poems examine how abstractions such as presence and absence, grief and joy matter due to their intersection with matter: the individual body; the land, time, weather, from which that body sprung; and also the family that made a place home, its members living and dead - all of these are points of such intersection. It is the rich web of fact, myth, and story that surround a home-place that the speaker/narrator of these poems embellishes, questions, revises, and celebrates in order to make and expand meaning. And so, this is not merely an autobiographical collection about a woman who grew up on a farm and lost two grandparents in quick succession, who left farm and family only to return due to an obsessive love and need - though it encompasses this story. Rather, this story seeks, through its self-awareness, to complicate its narrative and lyrical moments through form, syntax, and content. It orchestrates a collision with fact and myth: what happened with what seemed to or should have or nearly happened.
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