The Animal Himself




Hooker, RJ

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The title of my thesis, The Animal Himself, and the accompanying quote are taken from the plaque beneath Lincoln's life mask in the National Portrait Gallery. My thesis is predominantly interested in examining the ethics of making art from death and the natural world, and the effects this has on both artist and subject. A section of poems in the thesis are renderings or re-imaginings of my father using a combination of surrealist and autobiographical elements. The poems, with titles like “Father as Chrysalis” or “Father as Taxadermied Jackalope” began as an attempt at understanding my father's death from a variety of vantage points. As the project progressed, the memory of my father began to degrade and was, in some ways, augmented by the art-making process. His memory began to take on a more fractured, mythic quality.



Southern poetry, Writing about place, Ecopoetics, Deep image, Elegy, Surreal