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Sassing: A collection of poems

Karen J Head, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This manuscript extends my research in two areas: Southern literature and music. As a poet and a Southerner, I am interested in language patterns distinct to the South and ways they translate into poetry. I use my own poetry to explore dialect and to respond to earlier works by established Southern poets. Contemporary popular music also influences my work. Like the southern dialect, contemporary music has its own language conventions, and my poetry responds to these conventions. ^ I began writing poems about the South and the Southern cultural experience, as I know it, along with a series of poems responding to/talking back to work by established Southern male writers. My intent is to add to the discourse a female view in an historic context. I am particularly interested in ways the stereotype of the Southern Lady translates into contemporary Southern culture, especially for female Southern poets. ^ When I began considering ways that my love of popular music might work with my poetry, I instantly thought about my own life memories inextricably wrapped up with my music memories. Using an historical framework, I wrote a series of autobiographical poems using chart-topping song titles from the week of my birth for each year of my life as ekphrastic cues. While the songs themselves became less important to me, the titles, and occasionally a few lyrics, forced me to rethink each year of my life through the lens of pop culture references. ^ Ultimately, I have created a semi-autobiographical collection based on particular cultural and historical frameworks. However, I do caution readers that I have frequently fictionalized portions of the text where I thought overall effect would be strengthened. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Head, Karen J, "Sassing: A collection of poems" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3126951.