Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts




Creative Writing (MFA)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Jon Billman


This collection of prose and poetry considers what it means to exist in a space that hovers above the Appalachian border, where tradition and progress clash and meld in surprising and often transformative ways. Identity is constructed in part through the experience of environment, and this work seeks to unpack and reimagine an ever-changing sense of self. The pieces included in this collection question regional notions of religion, faith, love, marriage, motherhood, and what it means to both love and resist one’s place of origin.

The Fear of Drowning is a culmination of fiction, poetry, and essays that blur the lines of confession and imagination. Each individual piece works in conversation with the whole. Fiction merges into poetry and finally lands in an undeniable desire to somehow return home.

Access Type

Open Access

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2999