TitleLooking past the lily
NameMoser, Elizabeth Sands (author), Sill, Geoffrey (chair), Singley, Carol (co-chair), Rutgers University, Camden Graduate School,
Haiku, American--New Jersey--Camden,
Poets, American--New Jersey--Camden,
Virgilio, Nicholas A. (Nicholas Anthony), 1928---Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionFew American haiku poets can claim to be as enthusiastic and prolific as Nick Virgilio. Over a twenty-five year period, the Camden poet amassed a collection of over 20,000 haiku, many of them unpublished. His poetry covers the contemporary American experience, from gritty urban life in Camden to the erosion of rural American communities in the face of industrialization. The poet writes about the loss of his brother in Vietnam and the toll of such losses on the American psyche. Most of all, through his poetry, workshops and lectures, Virgilio worked tirelessly to get America back in touch the life-giving power of nature that surrounds our everyday lives. This thesis is an exploration of Virgilio’s haiku, both from his published work, Selected Haiku, and the unpublished Virgilio Collection from Rutgers University’s Robeson Library. The text discusses the differences between Eastern and Western haiku and the development of American haiku as an independent art form. Next, we turn to Virgilio’s haiku themselves, applying the idea of “layers of meaning” to discuss the movement of the poems’ point of view from the individual to the community to the entire society. We then examine thematic issues, such as Virgilio’s address of Camden’s poor and the dissolution of rural communities. Last, we end with a look at the poet’s process of writing and revision with several examples of how he tirelessly revised and improved his writing over time. Nick Virgilio’s poetry uses the haiku’s spare but emotionally powerful form to draw together nature and society into an inextricable bond. His potent themes and clear artistry will certainly appeal to a young generation growing up in the economic turmoil and changing values of today.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Elizabeth Sands Moser
CollectionCamden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.