Portland State University. Department of English
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Arts (M.A.) in English
These poems are grouped as they are in order to reflect a progression, a trail at the end of which my own spirituality is not found, but revealed. A subtitle might be Dilemmas and Destinations, for each poem can also be viewed individually as a struggle or desire to reach this goal. In fact, I label my two sub-sections in precisely these terms. I have organized them not to build upon one another, but to act as "snapshots" that describe my beliefs. My poems begin with family issues and/or characters that have shaped a belief in a multi-faceted God. Several pieces are inspired by the struggles and rewards of marriage, after which I include a series of poems about the experience of travel, and I end with more universal pieces that allow me to ruminate on the nature of my spiritual makeup.
I hope that my poems incorporate the concrete experiences of daily living and images to which others may relate. However, I have been more concerned with writing down the pictures and sentiments that trigger and remind me of my own path, the breadcrumbs if you will that I follow in order to understand myself.
Under the influence of poets like Seamus Heaney, J elaluddin Rumi, and Denis Johnson I have tried to make sense out of the daily choices and observations I have made in relationship with family, in my education, and within the natural world. I try to access my heritage and Anglo-Saxon roots in some pieces, using compound phrases and words with clear pictures. Other times I move into deliberately extended tropes and metaphor, which is more akin to the teaching stories of poets from the East.
My poems look to these simple events and observations of natural phenomenon, as well as my own evolution, to inspire me and tum my attention to issues greater than the initial circumstance. I hope these poems can be read and re-read to support and inspire the reader to ponder their own beliefs about what they might call spirituality.
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Ellis, Jonathan Kirk, "Breadcrumbs: New and Selected Poems" (2001). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5491.