Take from this world
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My dissertation, Take From This World, is a collection of original poetry that focuses on issues pertaining to women’s experiences, including but not limited to the women in my family. The collection as a whole focuses on the representation of women through myth, archetype, and history, and also deals with their frequently untold stories, such as the story of what happens to Delilah after Samson. In many cases, the poems are re-imaginings of some of the conventional mythic and archetypal stories embedded in religion, collective culture, and history. Other poems further explore traditional roles of women by addressing women’s familial roles: mothers, daughters, and grandmothers. A number of the mythic and archetypal poems portray key women in history, including Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary through the use of persona, dramatic monologue, and lyric narrative. These forms help me to remain authentic in giving voices to the silences of women, whether the woman is the Virgin Mary or my grandmother. The poems in Take from This World are comprised of four main cycles. One cycle focuses on the various theories surrounding Mary Magdalene’s true identity—prostitute, wife, mother, and saint—and her position in the hierarchy of Christ’s followers. The poems in the second cycle re-imagine the ancestral and matrilineal heritages as personal experiences of my own matriarchal line. Thus, cycle one helps to further the autobiographical in cycle two in order to enlarge the archetypal and vice versa. Such an enlargement of experience and voice continues in cycle three where matriarchal voices are more fully developed, and poems in a poet-speaker voice of mother/woman/poet enter the conversation, including a dialogue with the more spiritual poems of the fourth and final cycle. This last cycle continues the poems of biblical women by bringing together the lives, stories, and re-imagined experiences of a few other biblical women including Delilah and Hagar. The themes and voices, however, finally and fully emerge as united in “The Daughter of Memory,” the last poem of the collection. Here the poet-voice, speaker-voice, and historical female voice meld together and become a unified voice concurrently occupying both past and present concurrently; one that finally realizes that the two can no longer be separated.