AFTER: A POEM
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. William Olsen
My dissertation is a single book-length poem in 52 sections. Each section is marked by a page break and is contained on a single page with the exception of the section beginning with the line “There are gods but not the ones,” which begins on page 12 and ends on page 13. The poem is a response to my father’s death in March of 2010. The speaker of the poem represents the consciousness that remains to a human being in the time after passing. I do not use the word “ghost” or “soul” in identifying this consciousness, as these terms have a long, and often cliché, tradition of representation in literature. The form of the poem, especially as it is manifest in line and syntax, corresponds with the requirements of the multivalent spatial and temporal locus of the speaker. Individual words and clauses may be read as belonging to two or more “sentences,” one sentence following or nested inside of another. The language struggles to accept this expanded capacity, just as the after-consciousness of the speaker struggles to understand and to remember.
Sweeney, John Chad, "AFTER: A POEM" (2011). Dissertations. 468.
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