Portland State University. Department of English
Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing
1 online resource (iv, 53 pages)
Communication -- Poetry
This collection is a conversation between the internal vs. external self--"vs." being operative, as I'm considering these things in tension or argument. I see writing as inhabiting a middle ground between thought and action, spanning both the internal and external act of communication simultaneously. The mouth seems an apt site for exploring this duality of experience. It is the great molder of language as it becomes. And mouth as passageway. I often experience the intersection of the inner/outer as obstructed or knotted. I wonder how one connects to an other given this blockage of passage. I'm thinking about this blockage as the felt reaching and indirect contact inherent in communication and by extension, relationship. I'm interested in how the impulse to connect emerges distorted and what it looks like to have this revealed in the body. I recognize the experience of love as capable of transcending this distortion.
These poems reflect also, on how this relates to spaces, rooms--the inside or outside of a house being analogous to inside or outside the body. I'm interested in giving the internal environment greater voice--seeing how objects rest, make meaning and animate this environment. Stillness and life of the inanimate (or dead) feel crucial to the interior space. I'm interested in the object's capacity to extend beyond the illusion of ownership (and the life of the body). I see the particles of the human body (skin, hair) speaking to mortality and also to the resilience of what is lost.
These poems seek beauty or truth in the small, ordinary thing--they see the enormity of an ant. This beauty is of course, not without suffering and futility. Rather, the experience of beauty is a simultaneously celebratory and heartbreaking act.
All of this is very serious (and thus also very comic).
VanZutphen, Jenessa, "My Mouth has a Mother" (2017). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3671.