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DWU professor melds mechanics, personality to create poetry

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One of Dakota Wesleyan's newest instructors has taken a profoundly personal approach to her poetry, ironically, by using machines.

Barbara Duffey, assistant professor of English at DWU, joined the English department this fall and had several poems published over the summer and fall, in which she uses mechanical metaphors to portray a personal connection between man and machine.


Her poems, "Archimedes Screw," "Diesel Engine" and "Ferris Wheel to the Fun House," were published in the current issue (summer 2012) of Western Humanities Review; and two poems, "Cento: 'Instinct,' by Lester Del Rey" and "Wheel & Axle," appear in the current issue (fall 2012) of Sugar House Review.

All of these poems are from Duffey's manuscript in progress, "Simple Machines," which uses famous machines as metaphors for the human body.

"I use the machine metaphors as a way to highlight my frustrations at my infertility diagnosis, that my body didn't work as mechanically as I had expected," Duffey describes. "I focus on machines named after people, such as the diesel engine, the Archimedes screw and the Ferris wheel, because those personal names make the machines feel almost like the children of their inventors."