Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Eric Werner
Title Thank You for Visiting: Collected Poems with a Critical Introduction
Department English
Advisors Jody Rambo, Brenda Bertrand, and Mike Mattison
Year 2013
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (224 KB)

This thesis presents a collection of poems and a study of recent post-confessional poets to be used as models and inspiration. It seems appropriate in this age of self-exposure, in theage of Twitter and Facebook, that our poetry mirrors that cultural trend. I chose this form of poetry for its essay-esque style, which allows the writer to reflect on their lives and reshape past events and memories. It is not a school of mere recollection, it is a school of reshaping and reforming memories and experiences to project answers onto the questions that plague our everyday lives.

Post-confessional poets have their own unique challenges to overcome when writing personal lyrics, such the unstable nature of memory and the desired degree of sentimentality. However, this style is an important venue of self-discovery for a developing poet, and I had to learn through the course of this project to create an "I" that could reflect me as well as reach for the universal. To help me, I selected two contemporary poets to act as guides through the world of post-confessional poetry. Matthew Dickman and Marie Howe are both poets who write from the self and share similar familial losses that act as their subject matter. Studying both how they play with narrative and their individual poetic voice has provided a productive apprenticeship throughout this project.

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