Title page for ETD etd-04132004-154747

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brockmeier, Victoria
Author's Email Address victoria@brockmeier.net
URN etd-04132004-154747
Title My Maiden Cowboy Names: Poems
Degree Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David Madden Committee Chair
Michelle Zerba Committee Member
Sharon L. Weltman Committee Member
  • contemporary poetry
Date of Defense 2004-03-31
Availability unrestricted
On the title: for a dichotomy of vulnerability and resistance; for self as plural and/or changeable; for acts of claiming. To hint at tone, setting, and content. On sound: to shape a poem's mood, and because these pieces should leave your mouth a little tired if you read them out loud. On lineation: to highlight the near-misses in language-ambiguities, double meanings, troublesome literalization-and to see these not as pitfalls but as opportunities. On stanza and strophe breaks: if a stanza is a room, the breaks between must be doorways, and who wants to sit down and rest in a doorway? The aim is to stretch the reader across the distance, leave him/her hanging and anxious to get to the next words. The same strategy, less intensely, informs line breaks as well. On punctuation or its omission: used where pacing, voice, or logic require it, but otherwise considered unnecessary. On orthography: at times because it's redundant (the words should signal beginnings and ends of thoughts regardless of capitalization); at times because capitalizing proper nouns signals an impossible surety of reference (who understands America enough to claim they're describing it completely and accurately?). Additionally, to encourage ideas to collide. On the lowercase i specifically: this isn't about autobiography, but about writing good poems. Perspective changes as the writing dictates; be wary. On voice: bifurcated, bilocated, liminal in identity (say, an ex-carney holding a one-woman picket line) and method (fragmentation; juxtaposition; ellipsis; word play). Passionate and linguistically lush. On why: not to break the rules of discourse, but to break them open, exposing what's inside.
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