Date of Award

5-2020

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee

Shanan Ballam

Committee

Ben Gunsberg

Committee

Dennise Gackstetter

Abstract

Louise Glück wrote, “the actual making of art is a revenge on circumstance.” The risk, she goes on, is in the possibility of shame. Writing poetry then becomes an act of courage, purchased with sacrifice or loss. “Courage, in this usage, alludes to a capacity for facing down the dark forces.”

In Harvest, a poetry chapbook, the speaker takes revenge on the circumstances of her life by being blunt, bare, and brave on the page. She contends with a male-dominated society and abusive childhood as she moves into adulthood and the supposed saving grace of a marriage. The speaker confesses traumatic memories, marital betrayals, and harmful coping mechanisms in a lyrical way, adding her voice to the abused poets of past and present who have also asked themselves – how can a raped daughter grow up to love a man? In an attempt to break the silence forced upon her by an abusive parent, the speaker examines the pattern of sexual failures in her life, as well as her roles as a female, daughter, sister, and wife through poetry. My speaker has excavated her inner child and bared her most intimate parts in poetry. By attempting to exorcize her stepfather to make room for her husband, she found the potential for fierce love in her sibling relationships. In reaching for them, my speaker reaches for herself instead of another man.

Included in

Poetry Commons

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