Tuesday, May 25 • 10:45am - 12:15pm
The KIDDs Are Alright: KIDD LOI 1

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Andi Butts Exploring How Modern Female Poets Write About Abuse and Trauma (in a Culture that Demands Otherwise)
Trauma is a widespread and well-established phenomenon across the globe, yet there is a great deal of stigma associated with enduring and surviving it. This is particularly true when the trauma in question is the result of abuse. The world of poetry (and that of literature at large) are not immune to this stigma; indeed, writing about abuse and trauma in poetry is often regarded as self-indulgent and anti-intellectual—overly concerned with the poet’s emotional catharsis at the expense of intentional and skillful technique. My research is focused on subverting this notion by surveying how modern female poets, such as Lucille Clifton, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, Emily Skaja, write about (and reconcile with) abuse and trauma in their work. In examining these writers’ poetry about abuse and trauma, I argue that these poets do not abandon their focus on craft in the pursuit of emotional catharsis but rather employ specific technical choices—including repetition and attention to the themes of time and memory—in order to convey the psyche-splitting and transformative nature of trauma. Moreover, I seek to highlight how the disdain of poetry about abuse and trauma is a result of misogyny and how, because of the patriarchy in which we live, writing about such subjects is an act of resistance and necessity.
Hailey O'Donnell Flowers by the Sea: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and the Misunderstood Young Women Who Carry Them
Few poets (few women) have legacies as storied and fraught with melodramatic tension as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. In popular culture, their admirers are coded in darkness––written off as “troubled” and overly pessimistic. This research project examines society’s shortcomings in remembering Plath and Sexton and offers a new vision for discussing their influence. I argue that these women should be recognized for the space they have created within the literary world (and the world at large) for women to examine an experience of womanhood marked by mental health concerns, feeling misunderstood, darkness, and general disillusionment with the expectations/demands of conventional femininity. I also posit that their true legacy is not the sum of their work or their cursed reputations––but rather, it is a spirit of subversive, honest creativity that lives within the young women whom their voices have inspired and assuaged. I reference my own journal entries from early adolescence as a primary source in illustrating how creative work can be distinctly cathartic for young women. My goal with this project is to reframe the greater meaning of Plath and Sexton’s lives to more accurately reflect the positive change they continue to prompt, and to consider how their stories can inform more nuanced and empathetic approaches to mental health in young women.

Amelia Hamerlynck Her body was a new and ancient rite': Contemporary Queer and Woman+ Poets Rewriting Ancient Greece  
"Hamburg, i love you but you deserve better" is a poem I wrote mostly in English but with occasional German words, cultural references, and grammatical constructions. I stylize an aspect of German grammar by only capitalizing nouns on the page. I almost didn't submit this piece for workshop because I was convinced it is far too personal for anyone to understand but me; however, I received a lot of positive feedback from my peers who felt as though the poem's singularity and strangeness is a strength, and that its emotional power transcends the need for literal understanding. The question of how and why one incorporates foreign language into English poetry is complex; I hardly think I have answered it here, and consequently I often wonder about this poem's chance of publication. However, the web of idiosyncrasies makes this poem one of my favorites to unpack and explain, which suits the cerebral context of a research symposium quite well. It is also designed to be read out loud, more so than any other piece I have written thus far. It has the wild energy of a free-verse poem but is written in verse. This is meant to produce a manic or hysterical quality in honor of the heartbreak and pain from which I wrote the piece, although the details of that heartbreak and pain remain somewhat vague in order to allow room for imagination.

Jack Dinovitz The Taxidermic Angel: The Patriarchal use of the Female Voice in Poetry
My project: Throughout history male poets have appropriated the voice of female characters to convey patriarchal ideologies to their readers. My LOI project helps to uncover the ways in which male poets have used these voices for their own gain and the voices of female poets in juxtaposition. To understand this further a created a thesis that would convey this research;
Male poets have used the female voice, depicting the Madonna Whore complex, in narrative poetry to promote patriarchal ideologies through three major lenses of women: biblical imagery, the cult of domesticity, and the death of women. Combining both the research of poetry across centuries and developing an understanding of the perception of female poets within the construct of a male dominated patriarchal literary field, I accumulated a vast variety of collections and essays to further understand the repercussions sexism has had on poetry. Through a understanding of male writers patriarchal ideologies we are able to understand the severity of the appropriation and silencing male poets have had on women in society. My research further shows the importance of teaching a variety of writers with diverse backgrounds and not just patriarchal white male poets. The research allows for a truth to be uncovered that has long been silenced in academia.

Tuesday May 25, 2021 10:45am - 12:15pm PDT