Student Research Projects
I Scribe: For the Love of Language
|Student||Leanne Causby, '16|
|Course||English 398: Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop|
In my research I set out to answer the question of how a poet today goes beyond merely confessional poetry, yet writes work that is meaningful to that poet and to readers. I also pondered how an artist makes her art new. Charlotte Pence in her essay â€œâ€™Not I!â€™: Strategies of Post-Millennial Confessionalistic Poetryâ€ argues that one way to â€œtranscend the personal and its particularsâ€ is â€œto focus on language as subject rather than self as subjectâ€ (306). The process in which my poems were created was driven by the practical research approach. My approach involved reading other poetsâ€™ work, observing live poetry performances, and revising and editing my own work. The nature of the practical research approach allowed me to simultaneously build on prior knowledge, techniques and concepts while engaging in the editing process to refine my own poems. This sequence of original poems, with its theme of reflections on language and writing, brings forth my boundless love for words. In this dramatic reading, I begin with â€œVerses,â€ a poem about reasons poets write. It roots itself between my desire to write for myself, to â€œscribe for the truth that hides inside,â€ and my hunger to write for others: â€œI scrawl for all yâ€™all. / For the broken homes and worship call.â€ Shaped in rhymed couplets to capture the tension between these two desires, â€œVersesâ€ uses a varying refrain between couplets to reflect on the act of writing as â€œI scrawl,â€ â€œI compose,â€ â€œI poem,â€ and â€œI scribe.â€ Similarly, the form of â€œLife Lessons I Should Have Learned from Books Alreadyâ€ is meaningful; it imitates the appearance of a table of contents, with chapter numbers on the left and corresponding â€œlessonsâ€ justified to the right of the page. This poem meditates on growth in our lives through a series of metaphors related to books, stories, and writing. For example, the poem opens by telling readers, â€œThere will be moments that leave entire days empty of punctuation.â€ The poem concludes with, â€œSome books, some books/will irrevocably change you. . . . You will be forced to rewrite your own manual in hopes of ever comprehending yourself / again, & this will be an edit that you could never have prepared for.â€ â€œCentr@l Processing Unitâ€ brandishes computer lingo to personify computers in a â€œland of Ctrl+Alt+Deleteâ€ and ends with a bar code. The last two poems were inspired by a book of private love letters of noted figures such as Alexander Pope, Beethoven, and Oscar Wilde; I truly enjoyed piecing together the found poem, â€œMoments Contained,â€ from these treasures of old, romantic language. â€œEver Thineâ€ summarizes how poetic language can transform our best into timeless experience.