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The Boatman

Katie Schmid Henson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Boatman is a collection of poems that explores bodily autonomy and desire through the lens of birth and motherhood. Desire as a consumptive force—one that eats the bodies of the lover and the beloved in its eagerness to map what is unknown—becomes something the speaker of these poems attempts to resist. Throughout the text, the speaker explores the limits of her own willingness to be a vessel for another’s body—her child’s, her lover’s—and uses the place where she finds her boundaries as a place of awe and celebration, a place where she might reimagine how she thinks of belonging and care. In her thinking about the unreachable places in the beloved, the speaker seeks to preserve what is unknown and untouchable, to call it holy. Finally, what is unknown in the body becomes metaphorically linked with what is spiritually unknown: the abyss, or God, and the speaker’s meditations bring her to the imagined space of her death as she seeks to form a reconciliation with the divine.

Subject Area

Creative writing|Womens studies|Sexuality|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Henson, Katie Schmid, "The Boatman" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI13863385.