Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Dr. Joseph G. Reish
Dr. Mark Richardson
This creative dissertation is a book-length manuscript of poems. What holds up, what holds together, the collection is, fundamentally, a narrow examination of the interrelationship between the poetic speakers' physical and psychological landscapes, that is, how various psychological states (love, grief, fear) shape a speaker's perceptions of, and reactions to, the world. This psychological anatomizing and taxonomizing takes place in four stages, arranged as parts in the manuscript.
The first part, with its emphasis on the contrast between the "objective" (real or external) and the "subjective" (perceived or internal) worlds, establishes the speakers' essential inability to reconcile what they see and what they feel. This "essential inability" intensifies and approaches a crisis throughout the second and third parts of the collection, in which the speakers find themselves increasingly unable to speak, to find a language that describes with any degree of exactitude not simply the contrast between what they see and feel but between how they see it and feel it. By the fourth and last part the speakers begin, tentatively, to allow their "inaccurate" perceptions to build a subjective "actual" reality that supersedes objective "factual" reality.
The deliberately traditional forms of most of these poems and their often quotidian subject matter generate a tension between what is stated explicitly and what is stated implicitly. Finally, the aims of this collection extend beyond the poetic into the linguistic by questioning the limitations of language for expressing reality on the one hand and arguing the possibilities of language for shaping it on the other.
McCormick, James Scannell, "The Song of Lies: A Collection of Poems" (1995). Dissertations. 1782.