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2015 Abstracts

The Desert as an Objectiv e Correlative: A Creative Writer’s Perspective

Missy Jessop, Dixie State University


I moved from the suburbs of Salt Lake City to southern Utah just about four years ago, and the land continues to evoke fear and reverence in me as it did when I first arrived. Moreover, the desert has worked itself into my writing. Not only do my conflicted feelings about this place surface in both my prose and my poetry, but images of the landscape, as well as its animals and climate, appear over and over. The desert, I would argue, functions as an objective correlative, directly complementing and indirectly commenting upon the actions, images, people and scenarios that comprise this work. As such, I have begun to agree with Wordsworth’s observation that “a large portion of every good poem…must necessarily, except with reference to the metre, in no respect differ from that of good prose.” In this presentation, I plan to share “flash” works of prose and poetry that problematize the alleged divisions between different literary forms. In support of my findings, I will draw upon the ideas of such writers and critics as David Lee, Sarah Kay, and W.B. Yeats. It is my hope that the audience will be reminded of the connection between nature, landscape, and artistic expression, and how this connection can be tangibly observed by individuals in their own creative lives.