By Alicia Marie Brandewie
My collection explores questions of memory and history through my personal relationship with my maternal grandmother and the public experience of the Donauschaben Germanic people during and after WWII. I utilize the relationship with my grandmother to test the barriers that separated us in her lifetime: language, age, and mental illness. These poems discover how maternal relationships, inheritance, and heritage can supersede those boundaries. The single example of my family's experience expands to the public, collective plight of the Donauschaben. My poems bear witness to their history, returning this small but complex element to the larger conversation surrounding the war. As a member of the postmemory generation - those born after an event but who still feel its influence through their predecessors - I complicate the distinction between perpetrator and victim. My poems seek to rectify an atrophy of memory - at both a personal and public level.
Heimat is both a personal journey and a public memorial. Art and history interplay to explore the emotions of the individual and the empathy that can unite a population. Interlaced throughout is my maturation as a person and as a poet. My poetry enables me to not only face what haunts the past, but to preserve and encapsulate its beauty and positive influence. Among loss and destruction are the gifts from one generation to the next, transcending language, time, disease, and even death.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Beitz Family, 1934...13
In The Closets the Hangers Rattled Like Bones...14
Mother of Those Who Were Driven Out...23
Überstezen: from Über, Across, and Stezen, to Place...48
About this Honors Thesis
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