Year of Publication
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Arts and Sciences
Dr. DaMaris B. Hill
I am fascinated with the spiritual, physical, and psychological experiences that occur when one’s flesh crawls. The experiences, akin to inverted goosebumps, result from provocations of the senses or of the mind. James Blake’s latest album, for example, triggers my flesh to crawl. The art on the album cover depicts a decaying body turned into a canyon-like labyrinth. In undergrad, attempts to conceptualize slave-deck diagrams disturbed my flesh to crawl. I am intrigued by how anxiety, epigenetics, and superstition all factor into the subjective intensities of this collective experience. As it seems, circumstance heightens the severity and frequency of the flesh-crawl phenomena. The nature of my fascination shows up on the page through philosophical, visual, and architectural sensibilities.
Though the strain is ever present, my need to write has shifted from a post-traumatic emotional outlet response to everyday observations and documented curiosities. Flies swarm the eye cavity of a dead squirrel in a bed of creeping juniper and I am moved to capture the funeral. Midday bells trigger a dream to the forefront of my mind and I write down my ancestor’s charge to speak until my tongue splits. My relationship with poetry has developed from the cathartic hobby I did to live into the art that I live to do. The poems included in this thesis speak to superstitions, adages, ruminations, regrets, dreams, conversations and observations that have all provoked my flesh to flee. Through a mix of free verse, erasure, and modest attempts at visual poetry, the works in this collection illustrate how poetry transforms telling the truth into an experience that depicts trauma and anxiety manifesting in the mind, the flesh, and the spirit.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Jackson, Shanita, "FleshCrawl" (2022). Theses and Dissertations--English. 144.
Available for download on Tuesday, May 21, 2024