Title

Postintake

Publication Date

5-2017

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-1-2017

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Department

English

Major Advisor

Martin Corless-Smith, Ph.D.

Advisor

Janet Holmes, M.F.A.

Advisor

Kerri Webster, M.F.A.

Abstract

Postintake is a collection of poetry that takes active and passive modes of listening as a conceptual model: if endowed with the ability to hear, one is capable of absorbing an incredible amount of information––intake with or without “paying attention”––becoming a kind of porous receiver. Thus, listening is a unique sensory experience because it is riddled with cognitive ambiguities as to what, precisely, constitutes “full engagement” with one’s environment. Of particular concern to this manuscript is how to break down or better understand distinctions between active and passive intake with regards to the subjective consciousness and its interactions with The Significant (trauma, ritual, culture, etc). Regardless of an individual poem’s subject, they each contain the cumulative effects of events/experiences which did not register in the moment, but conditioned the speaker’s perspective––which is, more aptly, that of a listener documenting what’s heard in the spaces surrounding The Significant––by way of sustained repetition.

And, as surely as these poems listen and/or hear, they also look, taste, and sniff around as the speaker’s body and their curiosity interfaces with what’s taken in under a similar active/passive dynamic. This is most evident when viewing these poems through the lens of posting on social media and the affective labor those communications demand. The book’s title, stylized after terms like “Postmodern” and “Poststructuralist,” plays on the multiple interpretations post allows for––that which comes after, the residual effect, as well as that content we manufacture and share with friends, family, and strangers on the internet. Currently, one’s tech-literacy and daily exposure to an abundance of text––status updates, news, blurbs, memes, et al (to make no mention of poetry)––can render these forms into a kind of noise, one increasingly inescapable. It’s within this noise that the collection looks, not for the difference between consumption and production as a means to restructure and assert those boundaries, but to establish an open channel into and out from that blurriness.

While the content often resembles what could, and with some accuracy, be classified as “Confessional Poetry,” the poems actively resist reconciling or legitimizing their confessional qualities by way of their conceptual aims. Influenced significantly by the poetry of John Ashbery, Lisa Robertson, and Bhanu Kapil, the manuscript operates as a repository ignoring the separations of “high” and “low” cultures, “performance” and “authenticity,” just as it refuses to separate the singular, transcendent experience from that which accrues outside of time and memory (e.g. a record of The Thing, A Life).

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