Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Donald Revell

Second Committee Member

Richard Harp

Third Committee Member

Claudia Keelan

Fourth Committee Member

Ralph Buechler

Number of Pages



Magic and Loss is the title of one of Lou Reed’s later studio albums--not magic against loss, or magic in recuperation of loss, which one might expect given the circumstances surrounding the recording of the album. Rather, it is magic and loss, where grieving is, out of the very inexpressibility of its catastrophe, somehow made into song. What Reed refers to obliquely as magic is merely one name--vision is another--for the process by which that transformation occurs. Thus, the song (or in this case the poem) acts as suture, closing, but not closing off, the abysm loss engenders. It joins what cannot be said to that which can and must be said. The following collection of poems takes its impetus from that same strange conjunction. Over the course of the manuscript’s four sections, the forty poems constellate "scenes" from a lyricized post-Romantic narrative between lover and beloved, between speaker and Muriel figure. I write post-Romantic to highlight two facts: first, that the relationship between these two figures is as much concerned with the infelicities of language as it is with the diegetical arc of the individual poems or of the collection as a whole; second, that the poems, as is true of any constellation, are merely points in a larger body whose shape is determined only when the reader or the viewer, possessed of a certain optimism or desire, connects those points and makes of the empty space between them an integral form. In recognizing the emptiness at the heart of such fullness, the absence that determines any notion of presence to which we might hold, the poems in this collection over and again gravitate toward that same magicalism Reed found attaching to the losses out of which Magic and Loss was made.


Creative Writing; Poetics; Poetry


American Literature | Arts and Humanities | Modern Literature | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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