Title

Barefoot and Breathless

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

English

First Advisor

Professor Julia Johnson

Abstract

Barefoot and breathless is a collection that encompasses a journey. The speaker in these poems experiences a journey of self-discovery and ultimately self-acceptance. This manuscript includes poems that critically examine the religion/faith I was brought up in and the cult I joined when I was sixteen. It also reaches for a connection with my own Cajun and Creole family, heritage, and genealogy. Although many Cajuns are white, me included, the focus of this investigation is not to center whiteness but instead to embrace the uniqueness of our ethnic group as its own entity, which simultaneously opposes white supremacy. Growing up in fundamentalist evangelicalism and abandoning that for paganism as an adult, I view white evangelical Christianity as an extension of white supremacy and colonialism. In this collection, I ask myself—what does rejecting religion and embracing an ancestral practice do in the movement toward equity? How does this aid in embracing queer identity or body positivity or sex positivity?

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