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Syllables Rising

Christine Stewart-Nunez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Syllables Rising, a collection of poems by Christine Stewart-Nuñez, focuses on the experiences of a young American woman living and teaching in Turkey. Emerging from the intersection of identity and place, the author juxtaposes travelistic poems of landscape and portrait with lyrics that engage the relationships among the lovers, friends, and family who compose the speaker's inner life. A poem may begin by invoking the history of the Hittites (a culture from which the English words "daughter" and "water" survive) and evolve into a meditation on father-daughter relationships. In both form and impulse, these texts take up questions of embodiment: In what ways do culture and gender map themselves on the flesh? What do layers of earth and architecture reveal about a landscape's physical history? How do loss and betrayal inhabit texts expressed within line, music, and image? As the title suggests, even if partial, these words move toward connection. The critical introduction, "Revision and Representation: Composing and Crafting Syllables Rising", examines the writing process in relationship to cultural representation. By discussing her writing, revision, and arrangement processes alongside ethnographic principles, Stewart-Nuñez shows how she confronted writing about a culture not her own by drawing attention to the speaker's subjectivity, complicating the rigidity of key themes, confronting tensions between lived truth(s) and invented truth(s), and using arrangement to imply narrative movement and arc.^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Women's Studies|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Stewart-Nunez, Christine, "Syllables Rising" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3252822.