Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts




English (MA)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Matthew Frank


What would it mean to understand the essence of a discipline? What would it meant to find the center of poetry? I argue in the introduction to this thesis that poetry has no center. One cannot come to know the capital “T” truth of poetry. Our language is too unstable, our intentions too vast, and our experiences are too varied. Thus, I interrogate what this might mean for the writer and the poetic experience more generally. By doing this, I ultimately interrogate what this means for me. However, I also accept T.S. Eliot’s claim that mature poetry has the unique ability to understand the “presence of the past.” The poems the reader will find after the introduction represent my attempt to answer some of these questions. Additionally, the poems in this thesis fall under the heading, “Envelope Elegy.” To me, this title suggests something I think a good majority of poems examine: what would it mean to miss or lose something that is just about to disappear but has not yet done so? These poems wrestle with this element of the human experience or that is my distinct hope.

Access Type

Open Access