Forget Nostalgia

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Krill, Jon Jerome
Portland State University Library
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When put to the question, "What are your poetics?" I usually answer that I tend toward lyrical and narrative surrealism. Most of the poems in this thesis collection have discernible through-lines, or at least some sense of "aboutness." Across these poems, however, I've experimented with various poetic tools in an attempt to refract experience rather than entirely abstract it. For example, by varying identities and locations of the speaker, some poems achieve a surrealist sense while maintaining proximity to the lyrical or narrative. Some have multiple speakers, and speakers of undefined identity, which further defamiliarizes their language. Another tool I work with is address: to the reader in some poems, between "actors" in other poems, or addresses from speakers to agencies or forces that seem to reside beyond the poem. In this sense, much of this work is performative. Variations in diction, within and across poems, add to both their surreal and performative qualities. Wide variation in form has been another impulse in my work. It has been an exercise in shapeshifting, an often obsessive practice of reworking poems in different structural arrangements, releasing and altering meaning along the way. In many cases, disforming and reforming poems as I revised them felt akin to erasure, a means of abandoning intent. In its eclecticism, I hope this collection reflects how abruptly, how discordantly, language and images are now enabled to encounter us––via what we might consider to be our own devices.