Award Date

5-15-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Donald Revell

Second Committee Member

Claudia Keelan

Third Committee Member

Lynn Comella

Fourth Committee Member

Emily Setina

Number of Pages

56

Abstract

Narrativization can empower us to reach beyond our loss and act as a trauma healer. This collection uses myth and spirituality to interrogate that suffering. Concerned with both physical and mystic bodies, the characters in these poems are reborn into new paradigms, attempting to diffuse loss (of dignity, hope, identity), and transform that injury into empowerment.

These poems explore those painful experiences through dreams and nonlinear magical visions, drawing from Surrealists painters like Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, whose dreamlike style informs the images in this collection.

Mysticism is essential to this work. The poems are meditations on death, love, and pain. The three parts, Dream Incubation, Retrograde, and House of Saints, represent the three phases of transcendence in the Buddhist understanding, with focus on the Bardo state, or the liminal state, which is the period after death but before rebirth, involving the detachment of one’s self from the body. These themes are informed by readings from Anne Carson, Simone Weil, and Mary Ruefle, as well as from the beliefs of Santería, translated from Spanish to mean “worship of saints,” a religion practiced in the Caribbean and West Africa.

At times embodying the personas of jezebels and femme fatales, the collection proposes that suffering can grant us access to a spiritual rebirth; it is a journey for wholeness, of destroying origin, and remaking of the self.

Disciplines

Creative Writing

Language

English

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025


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