thesisposted on 28.06.2013, 00:00 by Jenny Morse
Topographia consists of two distinct sets of poems that use different rhetorical, formal, and contextual positions to reframe place, space, and the human relationship to nature. One set centers upon a character, Skia, and her relation to place. These poems deal with the restrictions place exerts upon the human body and the limits of place as boundary. The other group of poems uses a U.S. state, a mapped place, as a reference point, but deliberately transcends that reference in an imaginary expansion of space framed by formal restriction—the majority of these poems are boxes, quadrangle shapes that evoke the geo-political boundaries of states while the content engages with history, memory, image, and language that move beyond those place-centered limits. The opposition of the formal strategy to the content works as an analogue to the difference between a geopolitical map and an experiential one. The intersection of these two sets, the Skia and state poems, provides the reader with two distinct views with regard to space, the undefined expanse, and place, the delimited territory, while echoing the theoretical tension between those concepts. The project, thus, invigorates the discussion of place and space in ecopoetry and offers new possibilities about how to imagine the human relationship to the environment.