Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. DaMaris B. Hill


The poems in this manuscript project are multi-generational and dissect what it means to be a healthy Black girl and woman in America. They highlight the experiences and trauma that impact the Black community, especially Black girls and women. The poetic components incorporate elements of Black life such as the Black home, neighborhood and community, the Black church and spirituality, kinship and familial bonds, Black hair, therapy, and African American Vernacular. They allow the author to dive deeper into Black femininity and culture. The poetry collection examines how physiological heart conditions are not only linked social and environmental indicators, but also psychological and emotional indicators like love, grief, excitement, faith, and more which underwrite the illnesses and strengths associated with Black girls’ and women’s heart health. Heartwork explores the complicated and deathless nature of the Black woman’s heart, while articulating intertwining elements of physiology, psychology and emotion that comprise her whole heart through her experiences. The pieces included in the project intend to perform the psychological and emotional “heartwork” as a means of healing, but also act as a source of reckoning with the reality of why heart disease is plaguing Black women at higher rates in America. The conditions of Black girls’ and women’s hearts are explored within the collection to convey how these conditions become either a weight or an attribute of strength in her living experience through tangible heart physiology and intangible emotional capacity associated with the Black feminine heart.

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