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Thought That Nature

Trey Moody, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Thought That Nature is a collection of poems that explores my obsession with the places I have experienced. More specifically, the collection attempts to clearly think through the erroneous ways I think about places. My dissertation's title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem that remarks upon the ways we misunderstand the word "nature" and, thus, how we experience it, evident when she writes, "I thought that nature was enough / Till Human nature came / But that the other did absorb / As Parallax a Flame." While we visually experience places often through observing their "nature," we perceive places through their weather, which is a major interest throughout Thought That Nature, particularly in the twelve-poem sequence "A Weather." Instead of solely focusing on weather observations, this sequence examines the language we use when discussing weather and echoes the late American poet Louis Zukofsky's statement that "the words the and a [...] are weighted with as much epos and historical destiny as one man can perhaps resolve." In addition to weather, Thought That Nature also investigates how cultural history affects how we experience places, most evident in the poems that comprise the collection's second section, "Lancaster County Notebook." Each poem in this sequence grafts original language from The Lewis and Clark Journals with language representative of twenty-first-century Nebraska to create new ways of understanding the historical and the present-day Great Plains. While historically stemming from the pastoral tradition, Thought That Nature is influenced most by three American Modernist poets--Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Lorine Niedecker, all of whom share in the exploration of the difficulties of understanding place. Ultimately, Thought That Nature aims to be a contemporary part of this on-going progression from the pastoral tradition, aware of the interconnectedness of everything that comprises nature, while at the same time aware of its inherent inability of ever being able to completely understand this interconnectedness.^

Subject Area

Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Moody, Trey, "Thought That Nature" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3611468.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3611468

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