Framing the Sacred in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century American Ekphrasis
AuthorTracy, Jordan Elizabeth
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 1-Apr-2017
AbstractFraming the Sacred revisits the significance of ekphrasis, the verbal rendering of a visual representation, in modern and contemporary American poetics. Although a seemingly marginal strain of lyric poetry, ekphrasis is a literary crucible in which the problems of representation converge, catalyzing a unique process of enchantment and disenchantment. Through an examination of a number of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poems, I argue that this enchantment has bearing on how we envision the import of religion in twentieth- and twenty-first-century America and its literature. On account of its liminal status--a text that is "betwixt and between" the verbal and visual--ekphrasis does not need to meditate explicitly on spiritual, sacred, or religious objects to undermine and destabilize our definitions of such terms. Each chapter in Framing the Sacred examines the manifestation of a single trope of containment--the figure of the frame, the genre of still life, the genre of the self-portrait, and the acts of collection and curation--and discovers the various ways the ekphrastic work of William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Wright, A.E. Stallings, and Jorie Graham constructs and deconstructs such tropes. The pattern that emerges from a number of dramatically different ekphrases reveals the generative value of loosening the frames through which we consider the sacred in the study of literature and the visual arts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College