Title page for ETD etd-04262012-162824

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kenagy, Robert Franklin
URN etd-04262012-162824
Title The Jalopy Hymnal
Degree Master of Fine Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hicok, Robert G. Committee Chair
  • poetry
Date of Defense 2012-04-23
Availability restricted

The Jalopy Hymnal is a collection of poems that explore and confront what it means to be human and navigate life. In their exploration, these poems find comfort in the broken, honest, and vulnerable spaces we encounter every day – the drive to drink, broken relationships, economic struggle, the difficulties growing up, and the decisions we make when forced to face ourselves. These poems never give up. Never roll over and die. When the voices in these poems face failure, they return to the loss and try to find something alive.

The constant search leads these poems to a variety of geographic locales, which in turn influence our understanding of environment and existence. A man in New Mexico may long for a mountain drive, while a boy growing up in rural Michigan needs the woods to survive. Though both voices seek different spaces for comfort, what drives them to the land is the desire to find something larger than themselves. These poems search to find their roles – be it in a bar or in the cosmos.

The Jalopy Hymnal follows country roads and deer paths. It follows drunks and womanizers. It follows the heart and guilt and shame into a place that invites forgiveness and acceptance. These are broken down cars, old and dying dogs, leaky boats, and empty bottles that find themselves in perfect, quiet moments where they finally lead perfect, quiet lives.

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