Title

PRETTY SAD ENDINGS

Year of Publication

2018

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

English

First Advisor

Julia Johnson

Abstract

As a Kentuckian, the past has always seemed to maintain a complex relationship with the present. Subdivisions spread across what were once tobacco fields and plantation estates; Appalachian folkways have long been slowly disappearing due to technological change, outmigration, and environmental degradation. In the poetry collection “pretty sad endings,” I try to ask— as our physical and cultural landscape changes, what are we losing, and what do we gain? And what remains (however transformed)? I use surrealism throughout the manuscript to elevate aspects of contemporary suburbia, Americana, relationships, and popular culture to the level of the mythical and spiritual. By distorting the everyday, I hope to tease out some of the real wonder that might be waiting in unexpected places, such as a cul-de-sac, a freeway billboard, or a drugstore parking lot. In these poems, I also try to create spaces where humor and emotional sincerity can coexist, while maintaining a raw curiosity in the strangeness and power of words themselves. My hope is not just that this collection can communicate some of the joys and hardships and eccentricities of my home, but that it can also speak relevantly about contemporary American life and relationships to readers anywhere.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2018.166

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