Award Date

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Donald Revell

Second Committee Member

Claudia Keelan

Third Committee Member

Emily Setina

Fourth Committee Member

Elspeth Whitney

Number of Pages



This thesis explores the orientational power of language through a collection of poetry grounded in themes of place, landscape, and desire. Language organizes the raw material of existence into the humanizing possibilities of experience and connection. It interrogates, examines, exalts, orders and reorders continually. Much like a physical landscape, it is constantly shifting under various pressures, which operate at variable speeds. By working and reworking themes and images, these poems explore the twin processes of erosion and deposition.

The materials found in these poems are largely drawn from my own memory, perception, loss, and desire. I mean to use language to both represent experience, and dismantle and reconstitute it, which will necessarily occur in the process of representation. There is a tension, as in life, between past and present as one slips inexorably into the other and is then remade in memory.

The thesis is organized around the cardinal directions to indicate that the poems constitute both a world and a map to that world. They are grounded in the physical features and natural processes of the earth, the changing of the seasons, and the weather, all of which are indifferent to our perceptions and yet form some of the foundational metaphors of human experience.


Arts and Humanities | Gender and Sexuality | Liberal Studies | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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