English, Department of


Date of this Version



A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Stephen Behrendt. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Cody Lumpkin


Skunk Hammock: Poems, a poetry collection by Cody Lumpkin, explores the confluence of man-made objects with the natural world. Lumpkin’s subject matter varies widely. From poems derived from the detritus of popular culture like Spam and Mr. Snuffleupagus to poems where prairie dogs and egging houses are the focus, Lumpkin works to render material poetic that is typically not seen as poetic. A number of his poems concern themselves with the perception of animals. Influenced by the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, David Bottoms, Robert Hayden, and Claudia Emerson, Lumpkin seeks to show animals not as mere symbolic vessels, but as embodied beings in and of themselves. As a writer, Lumpkin gravitates toward concepts that flummox him. The objects and ideas that he has mixed feelings about often end up being the subject matter of his work. Skunk Hammock shows a persona at odds with both himself and the world. In a sense, as the persona makes these poems, he unmakes himself. Survival is achieved through humor that is often sardonic and self-deprecating.

Adviser: Stephen Behrendt

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