Integration of Art and Self in the Poetry of Mina Loy

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Title: Integration of Art and Self in the Poetry of Mina Loy
Author: Hoffman, Nicole
Advisors: Thomas Lisk, Committee Chair
Abstract: While more research on Mina Loy's poetry has emerged in the past ten years than at any time prior, there have yet been no studies that entirely focus on what I call her 'art poems': poems that either explore specific artworks and artists, or that explore the process of making art. Because writing about art is a recurrent theme throughout Loy's work, discussing the tone of these poems — in relation to each other and to Loy herself — will fill an important gap in larger examinations of her poetry. In this paper I provide a close reading of nine poems, with particular attention to the speaker's attitude in each. In the first three poems, Brancusi's Golden Bird, "The Starry Sky" OF WYNDHAM LEWIS, and Joyce's Ulysses, the tone conveys intellectual and emotional admiration of the details of individual artworks, treating the pieces as entities outside the self. The tone in Loy's poems about specific artists (Gertrude Stein, Poe, and Jules Pascin) suggests more intimate admiration, praising the artists both literally and through imitation of form. The tone in the final three poems, Nancy Cunard, Apology of Genius, and The Widow's Jazz, are the most rife with conflict of the nine and the most emotionally intimate. These poems pit intellectual reactions against emotional, abstractions versus concrete imagery, and create complex hierarchies. The differences between the tones of these groups of poems suggest Loy's journey from the external experience of viewing or reading art to the internal experience of being an artist, as well as increasing personal difficulty with that movement.
Date: 2006-04-23
Degree: MA
Discipline: English

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