Submission Date

7-24-2015

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Jon Volkmer

Second Faculty Mentor

Matthew Kozusko

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Poetry succinctly internalizes fleeting feelings and experiences and reveals the inherent beauty of the mundane in nature and in our everyday lives. As a habit it combats the pervasive and human fear of forgetting and becomes a sort of artificial memory for the soul. Inspired by the poet David Lehman, who wrote a poem every day for five years, I wrote two poems every day for eight weeks, exploring themes of memory, forgetting, and transience. One of the poems is a free-form poem, and the other is a haiku.

A haiku by its very definition encapsulates a moment briefly and powerfully. I use this form to explore the potential of daily poetry as a meaning-making process and as an evolving, compounding memory. I write within the strict traditional syllable structure, but also experiment with the essence of the form, leaning less heavily on the syllable count but retaining that brief and potent presentation of a moment, place, or feeling.

I also assigned myself various appropriate readings to inform the process. Collections by Mary Oliver, David Lehman, Frank O’Hara, Billy Collins, and others, essays by Mary Oliver, Mark Strand, and Tony Hoagland, and anthologies of haiku in translation by both established and emerging poets have particularly influenced the bent of my own writing. At the end of the project, I wrote a personal essay reflecting on the experience of a strict daily writing practice and on the intersection between poetry, memory, and our desire for meaning.

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