Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

English

Advisor

Hermine Pinson

Committee Members

Jon Pineda

R. Benedito Ferrão

Jonathan Glasser

Abstract

This book started as an attempt to comprehend the surreal colonial world I’m suspended in in corporate constructed Williamsburg, Virginia. The tool I have to do this is language. Though the English language inscribes a certain linear logic and rational causality that mean it may not be the best tool for the job, especially tricky in narrative or essay forms. In poetry, I found a wider array of possible relations to be depicted less limited by linear time or hierarchical causal relationships and more closely approximating the rhizomatic/relational nature of existence as described by Édouard Glissant, Inger Christensen, Peter Blue Cloud, Anna Tsing and other anthropologists, physicists and biologists, the bacteria in our bellies, etc. etc.

Drawing on William Carlos Williams’ search for the American idiom in Paterson, Layers of Swampis an experiment in trying to find a language that embodies a relational ontological perspective. It is an effort, in the sense of Heriberto Yépez’s “Ethopoetics,” at a “new-making of oneself,” through the enactment of process towards the making of a poem that brings into existence new ways of being. Similar to Fanon’s revolutionary transformation of consciousness, this depends upon direct action on and off the page. The four sections of the work offer different attempts at such a transformation.

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