Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
A woman writing must learn to fuse all of her identities in order to be true to herself and her writing. She must think about the issues that affect all women, and then she must decide how to handle them herself. These issues are what make up the body of poetry in "Answers the Dog Whispered". The poems are about answering the questions that life asks of a woman; The poems range in topic from motherhood to grief, erotic love to family, relationships to writing. Their common unifying theme is a strong woman's voice that pushes the boundaries between the formal and abstract, narrative and image driven words, truth and fiction. The voice in these poems pushes through grief, anxiety and confusion, looking under every stone to find some moments of poetic sanctuary that she needs to go on. It is through the combination of all these elements that the poems in this collection help the speaker accept her role as woman and redefine herself in that role; The language of the poems is ordinary and simple, reflecting a love of Anglo-Saxon and Latinate words, but in no way are the poems simple. The poems themselves offer a range of vision from very constrictive formal sestinas, haiku and pantoum to loose free verse. There are poems that push the idea of the line break, and some that stretch the image in new and exciting ways. Ultimately, this collection in all its range reflects the complexity of being a woman writing poetry. Virginia Woolf says it best in A Room of One's Own, "who shall measure the heart and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?".
Answers; Dog; Original writing; Poetry; Whispered
American literature; Literature, Modern
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Wilkins, Allison Marie, "Answers the Dog Whispered" (2006). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2083.