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Right Between Empty
Pritchard, J.F. F

2017, BA, Kent State University, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of English.
A reader of Right Between Empty, after reading poems like “Brainwashed” and “Crippled,” will likely notice the employment of caesuras. The most intriguing reason for caesuras is the aesthetic value of the spacing—even before reading, “Brainwashed” is pleasing to look at. More than aesthetics, caesuras found in my poems force a certain rhythm upon the reader. Speaking abstractly, caesuras in “Brainwashed” can represent breathing in mediation or the void found through zazen. In “Crippled” spacing is more representative of disconnected body. The voice is highly disabled—the usage of uniform stanzas did not seem appropriate.
Jane Hirshfield inspired me to write some poems based in grounded things, objects, and settings, then lend insight to highlight philosophical connotations. For example, in “Groundhog” I present a scenario laid out in things, objects, and setting then present Buddhist-leaning insight with the ending: “Where it traveled, I examined/ a pressed path I never saw.” This line is not, as Yusef Komunyakaa says, tying a bow on the end, it is presenting meditational practice in things. In fact, my main goal is to elicit grander ideas in ordinary things/experiences.
When looking at line length, enjambment, and diction, I look to “The Hawk,” “Syrian Seashell,” “No Time but in Distance,” and “Dream like Time.” The poem “The Hawk” is best served by the shortest lines, overall, in the entire collection. The situation described in the poem is one that lasts seconds. The short lines give the reader the impression of a hawk’s rapid movement downward. The conservation of words helps the poem end as quickly as the hawk made its kill. In “Syrian Seashell” short lines were chosen to rapidly progress into the absurd and surreal. Inside of this surreal setting, diction was carefully selected to reflect the Syrian refugee crisis, and a widespread apathy shown towards suffering refugees because of “foreignness.” In “Dream like Time” diction was chosen to reflect the limits of language, while simultaneously attempting to evoke questions of reality, itself. Words put in abnormal, syntactical order are supposed to be seen as nonsensical but also meaningful in a forced-down-the-throat way. “No Time but in Distance” presents diction that makes one reexamine their idea of time, by measuring time units with distance measurements. Line shortness and enjambment helped pace the poem, speeding it up and slowing it down where necessary.
Craig Paulenich, M.F.A., Ph.D. (Advisor)
30 p.

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