The Moveable Wounds
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
This collection of fractured-narrative poetry, The Moveable Wounds or Hullaballoo, loosely follows the plight of Jennifer as she wages war with her self as perceived by society. As female, Jennifer struggles with her role as sex object, trying to unite her own sexuality with the role her partners expect her to play. The heart of the collection is a sense of violation, characterized by the discourses of the scientific and ritualistic and most prominently explored in the trope of the free fall or failure to fly. My thesis project casts doubt on the role of socially constructed gender identities on the levels of narrative, character, and style. Jennifer tries desperately to fly, to escape her gendered identity crisis, throughout the collection. Her struggle engages the collection in a dialogue with the gender critique of poets like Alice Notley and Claudia Rankine, questioning the patriarchal nexuses of thought that pervade in our society (where birth control is still a heated topic of political debate), by displaying their practical application in a female character whose body dismorphic disorder leads either to her ultimate destruction or her reemergence as a true physical entity. Stylistically, my narrative structure is heavily influenced by Sabrina Orah Mark in the creation of a surreality that forces the reader to question the validity of any programmatic declaration of shared reality or consistently perceived identity. The bombastic nature of the writing is meant to invoke the arbitrary performance of our social roles. Although over-the-top, the prose poem structure is easy to follow until the final section of the book, after Jennifer’s apparent destruction, when the language and syntax of the previous three sections implode into a visually focused long poem, “fauxgasm.” My final deconstruction of the narrative format questions the performance of narrative conclusion while mock-attempting a summation of gendered role-playing and the fallacy of shared perceived reality.
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Elgin, Maia, "The Moveable Wounds" (2012). LSU Master's Theses. 3169.