Fellow 1992-93

Brigit P Kelly


The Yard of the Actual Inside the Yard of the Dream

The poems in this volume may be divided roughly into three groups, though this division is not absolute and the poems in one group often share the goals, styles, and concerns of those in another.

The first group reflects Professor Kelly's preoccupation with the natural world--both the physical landscape and animal life. She strives to get at what may be called "the interior life" of the landscape, to press from its images new areas of meaning which extend to the human and spiritual realms. Animals are used as symbols, metaphors, images, and actors to call into awareness the mysterious, indefinable overlap between animal and human life. She has been influenced in this endeavor by Ovid's Metamorphoses and also by her background in fine arts. Like certain painters, she seeks to explore a set of images until they are exhausted by continually rearranging them and viewing them from different perspectives.

The second group of poems is shaped by Professor Kelly's interest in experimenting with words and forms of speech so as to press new meanings from them and evoke various unfamiliar or half-familiar transverbal states of consciousness. She tries to break through habitual patterns of word usage and the perceptual limitations they impose. She is also trying to explore, like Wallace Stevens and William Butler Yeats, dreams, intuitions, and meditative states. Professor Kelly endeavors to show how lost areas of meaning and lost forms of expression can inform current ways of thinking and feeling.

The poems in the third group explore narrative structure. They rely heavily on descriptions of the natural world but move quickly into human dramas. Often, they use multiple narrative lines, sometimes related in theme, incident or feeling. They suggest a world of circular time in which seemingly unrelated events are seen as part of a constantly recurring whole.