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Anxious Matter

Denise C Banker, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Poetry is art that employs language and language structures to explore what it is to be alive. What it is to be alive does not exclude the poet's experience, so poets enlist their experience in service to the art. The poet's experience, as well, cannot escape the affects of cultural milieu, memory, disposition, and the sense of externality. Thus, the whole of the poet's perception necessarily influences the art. But, poetry is not simply language. Poetry requires a deliberate shaping and nurturing of sensual perception. ^ These impulses of my mind, as associated with the art of poetry, are accumulations and extensions of various ongoing discussions of the art. When I entered this graduate program, I began my study with the British Romantics because I wanted to trace the linage of American nature poetry. I have always been interested in synthesis and hiking, and these interests naturally led me to ecology and poets who concerned themselves with phenomenon in the physical universe, and its impact on human imagination. After studying the British Romantics, I went on to study Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Denise Levertov, and others. As a result I am able to trace the linage of my own poetic development and the continuation and evolution of previous poetic thought. ^ The free verse poems in this manuscript are constructed of traditional lines and their breaks are based more often on phrasing than the nuances of enjambment. The poems are manifestations of my feelings in early life. Many of the manuscript's poems consider growing up in the chaos of poverty and alcoholism. ^ The central section, “Through the Weight of Water,” uses a hospital experience at the onset of my mother's six month long death process as its correlate to feelings of essential separation from one's parent and that complex love. Other poems in the manuscript consider the beauty of the natural world as well as its degradation. My nature poems attempt to ameliorate human alienation and propose an at oneness with the physical planet. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Banker, Denise C, "Anxious Matter" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3163985.