Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Fiction | Other English Language and Literature
When I first decided that I wanted to endeavor the realization and composition of a book-length collection of poetry, I had no theme or binding conceptual idea in mind. I saw the thesis project as a chance to create an anthology of work, one that would both map my personal growth as a writer and the distillation of my craft and technique. I knew the poems were going to reach over a period of about two-and-a-half years, so it was clear to me right away that I had no idea where writing would take me, or what iterations my imagination would undergo. This is why I wanted to leave the project as open as possible, and not place any thematic constraints on my process. At the time that I decided to commit myself to this project, I don’t think I would have attributed any essentiality or centrality to poetry in my life. Poetry was more of an aesthetic exercise where I felt like I could exercise my natural proclivity to language and its manipulation. Although I originally entered this university as an architecture major, I have always had a passion the written word. When I coupled this fascination with my spatial and visual understanding, I found that my poetry not only became essential, but brought me closer and closer to a liquid core: a voice that reaches out its naval strings and feels out the histories of our natural world.
In the process of compiling this book, I have not only come to understand myself and my position as a writer, but I have distinguished my critical and stylistic philosophies on what function poetry has in our cultural ecology. I realize that poetry gives me the chance to recover memory, to compile forgotten histories and social instances, to understand and bring closer the people I love, and to map and discover the natural forces that shape and sustain us. In the age of mobile and digital speech, talk is becoming cheap. People are constantly watched by their own incessant discourse, their linguistic surveillance and exhaustion. This leads to our thinning, a telescopic loss of significance and symbolic weight. Poetry gives weight, and clarity back to language. Poetry writes itself on our skin and demands us to remember. Poetry calls back to the bald gaze of the radio tower and the power line with the spoken limits of human struggle, the eternal character of our being. Poetry is at once a tomb and a waking child.
So it is with writing this book that I have come to understand poetry as a spirituality and life force. These poems that I have compiled, loosely in four sections, are only the beginning of what I hope to be a life-long commitment to the exposure and discovery such an art offers. I arranged each fourth to be a room of its own containing:New Englandlore, metaphysical transformation, The Letter, and finally the global geography and experience of language. There are themes that run throughout all these places, people, dramas, and dreams, but I will leave it to the reader to draw those out and define them for themselves. Poetry offers no conclusion, and if it is to remain something organic and living it must always reach beyond its body. Poetry can instruct us on how to live, but it can also reveal the traps we built and keep building under and over ourselves. As a writer, I understand too that I am entering into a long tradition of poetics, and I know I have a responsibility to all those who I have borrowed from. To them, I hope my work will always be a tribute.
Miller, Christopher, "THE TOWN HALL IS FILLING WITH BOULDERS" (2005). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 667.
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