Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Beth Gylys

Second Advisor

David Bottoms

Third Advisor

Randy Malamud

Abstract

The following is a collection of original lyric, narrative poems written mostly between 2008 and 2014. The introduction discusses the origins of my poetic influences and aesthetics. The title references a metaphor from 1 Corinthians 15 in the Bible where the apostle Paul describes the physical bodies of resurrected individuals. He compares the glory, brightness, and beauty of resurrected bodies to celestial bodies in the firmament (i.e. the sun, moon, and stars).

The title encompasses the arguments of this poetry collection because the poems discuss various aspects of the eternal human soul as mortal or immortal. These poems explore concepts of the body as the instrument through which each of us experiences the world as well as the medium for physical and emotional growth, pleasure, violence, sexuality, knowledge and intelligence, and death and loss. These poems are interested in language, sound, and narrative while focusing on the physical body, particularly how as mortals we’re all affected by the sweeping realities of the human condition such as the desire for perfection, immortality, sexual or metaphorical union, and transcendence.

These poems are heavily informed by my own experience, though it should not be assumed they are always autobiographical. I enjoy fiction in my poetry. Furthermore, once a poem comes into existence, the poet must allow the poem to go where it needs and wants to go. While many of my first drafts begin as autobiography, resemblances to my life experience are often lost. That being said, the poems in this collection concern a boy coming of age as he becomes aware of his self as a physically embodied entity, as he explores his curiosity about his own body and the bodies of others, and as he witnesses cruelty, illness, and death in his world.

Available for download on Sunday, April 26, 2099

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