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Being(s) in place(s): Poetry in and of Nebraska

Mary K Stillwell, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Being(s) in Place( s): Poetry in and of Nebraska is a record of the interrelated and on-going geological, historical, and literary conversation that informs Nebraska's poetry today. Part one, “The Poetry of Region: Ecological Foundations,” presents a geologic overview of the origin and continuing transformation of our region through time and a precis of the poetic legacy we have received from our earliest residents, our first poets, who lived and sang one with place. ^ Part two, “Movement, Change, and Earlier Written Records,” examines the arrival of a new, Western way of thinking about place, poetry, and what it means to dwell in our region. Part three, “Being(s) in Place(s): How We Know and What We Read,” a more theoretical section, suggests how we go about knowing place and how a “second nature” is created when we write a poem. Part four, “Conversation Pieces: Four Contemporary Nebraska Poets,” provides an overview of four of the most widely-known poets of the state. “William Kloefkorn's Welcome to Carlos: ‘The epiphany that will not go away,’” traces the origins of our state poet's poetic vision as he came of age during the 1930s and 40s. “The Ecologies of Place in the Poetry of Kathleene West” explores the importance of the poet's childhood spent on a small family farm in Nebraska and her Scandinavian legacy, a cultural and linguistic heritage that lead to the discovery of West's own distinctive poetic voice. “When a Walk is a Poem: Winter Morning Walks, A Chronicle of Survival, by Ted Kooser,” analyzes the archetypal journey of Everyman summoned by death and the story of a local resident out walking as he faces the aftermath of cancer surgery. “Conversant with Transformation: The Poetry of Hilda Raz” interprets the development of transformation and its relationship to place throughout the poet's work. ^ The “After-word” identifies eight characteristics of Nebraska poetry as an ongoing and changing conversation and speculates about what the future may have in store for readers and writers alike. ^

Subject Area

Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Stillwell, Mary K, "Being(s) in place(s): Poetry in and of Nebraska" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3147157.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3147157

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