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The Cafeteria of Time

Todd Robinson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation represents the best writing of poetry that I have done as a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska. The work is divided into four parts, each with its own purview of the people, places, and ideas that have inspired my writing. The poems are almost entirely free verse and generally narrative, in keeping with my early training as a writer of fiction and of literary criticism. ^ The poems here often meditate on the nature of time, exploring the extinguishing power it exerts on individual lives and the simultaneous patina of historic permanence it can lend to persons and epochs. Section I includes poetic depictions of my domestic life (with time's shadow ever-present), ruminations on faith and doubt, and several elegaic pieces. Section II is comprised entirely of poems about birds, figuring them as avian symbols of ill fortune and decay. Section III focuses primarily on my family and its inevitable dissolution, eulogizing the living and the dead alike. Section IV contains poems on Nebraska's plains and on the plains' underground, at once examining and interrogating the ways we eke out a living and the ways we eke out transcendence. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Robinson, Todd, "The Cafeteria of Time" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3152619.