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Living as magnets

Bret Shepard, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


LIVING AS MAGNETS explores human relationships—to the natural world, to other people—by way of various poetic choices and sequences of poems. One particular sequence, "Skin Interims," comes directly out of research on ecological replenishment, expanding section by section to consider how different types of space impact nature and human. An image sequence in the dissertation takes the word "compass" in various usages, weaving connections to the word itself, as well as images for which the word signifies. Put differently, poems use the word "compass" to find meaning just as they consider how a compass, as an instrument, is used for finding places. These poems utilize language and form in the poems as methods of discourse for ecology and other socio-political forms of culture. Research from New Materialism, Continental Realism, as well as eighteenth and nineteenth century poetics movements inform choices and ideational qualities of this dissertation. Certain poems think through the convergence of place and person, which is to say they think through forms that become less stable and linguistically charged. The manuscript is broken into two distinct sections. The second section, a long poem in sequence, mixes poetry and prose to unfold a narrative that uses elements of surrealism and disjunction to exist between the gaps of "story" as it might be considered in normative narrative theory. Together, these poems form an arc that moves in different directions while at the same time speaking together in unexpected ways.^

Subject Area

Literature, General

Recommended Citation

Shepard, Bret, "Living as magnets" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3689645.