Type of Document Thesis Author Young, Nicholas URN etd-04082010-160817 Title Endings Degree Master of Fine Arts Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title James Kimbrell Committee Chair David Kirby Committee Member Erin Belieu Committee Member Robert Olen Butler Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2010-03-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe poems in this thesis manuscript deal specifically and theoretically with the concept of finality, and echo influences as varied as Robert Haas, Harvey Shapiro, and Paul Auster. The poems investigate the many forms, structures, subjects, and styles of contemporary poetry, orienting themselves around four primary types of endings: relational, familial, personal, and external.
Section I explores physical death as a primary focus until gradually shifting into examining the last, final moments of a relationship. The final two poems in this section deal with relationships with the end inherent in the very beginning: relationships with nowhere to go but down, given the obvious, flawed nature of the speaker.
Section II continues this theme in a decidedly different stylistic approach: all the poems in this section are in sonnet form. This section examines endings located in one, singular moment, and also deals with the writer’s reflection, years later, of certain moments of ending. This section asserts that endings occur at any time, both in moments we fail to grasp and in moments obvious to us.
Section III examines endings in specific, physical locations, such as tree branches that lie dead on the ground, the unfortunate product of an ice storm; phantom limb syndrome; and “the flick of flint on a dead fire” (“Reunion”). The section also examines endings that occur, or might occur, within specific geographic places and spaces,, whether it be in Florida, Iraq, or Haiti. The final poem in the section, “I Remember,” is five simple lines, each denoting an ending to the title, and each indicative of a different type of emotional end.
Section IV addresses address endings of a familial nature, examining the disconnect between the speaker’s practical experience in the world and his mother’s religious conception of the world, and then spring-boarding into poems that examine the death of the speaker’s father. The last poem, “Reflections on Turning Thirty,” is a summation to the manuscript, asserting in the closing lines, “Love is the brick / breaking windows / of the heart.”
In order to best examine endings in their various forms, the writer incorporates a variety of styles and techniques. Many poems are written in couplet form; still others, as in Section II, are composed in sonnet form. Most of the poems are at least fourteen lines long, though some run much shorter – “I Remember” (five lines) – and others much longer – “The World as Word and Meaning” (forty-eight lines). All poems are written in free verse, however, and the writer was cognizant of free verse techniques at work: consonance and assonance, line enjambment, and internal rhyme schemes.
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