Close to the Ground

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Julia Johnson


The ecological doomsday clock ticks ever closer to midnight as regions across the world reap the planet for limited resources. In America, coal-mining once promised sustainable fossil fuel, but has been exposed as having extremely dangerous effects on Mother Earth. Coal’s time is far more limited than ever, and the ways it’s produced have an unreclaimable effect upon the land from which it’s mined. This work aims to illuminate the culture of mountaintop removal, the lives of the miners living on Appalachian hills and the double-edged sword created by the long history of coal mining. These are protest poems in an age of inevitable ecological devastation, packed with urgency. While highlighting the ecological devastation of the Appalachian region, it also aims to detail the efforts of a profit-driven society to preserve the exploits of Big Coal and the sake-of-ease of mountaintop removal mining.

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