Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
This thesis is a collection of poems that center on the themes of extinction, family, the female body, and the presence of the animal. During my time in the Upper Peninsula, I found a connection with the natural world around me, and this led to my fascination with animals and extinction, both of which manifested in my poetry. As I struggled with the residual effects of toxic relationships, as well as the bleak romantic landscape of the UP, I saw my own body reflected in the bodies of animals. I specifically noticed this reflection while studying the art of taxidermy; I saw my own struggle with my body in the preservation of the animal body. During my summers at NMU, I was also funded through grants to travel through Scandinavia, as well as various parts of the Midwest, and these travels developed into poems in this manuscript as well, often poems about family and familial history and the slow forgetting of that history. In this thesis, I interrogate what Adrienne Rich calls “a fascination and a terror” in the manifestation of men in women’s writing. I also see this fascination and terror in the animal body, as well as in the themes of extinction, both natural and familial. The collecting of these memories and these words is an anxiety, a terrible and beautiful thing. Throughout these pages, these themes dwell between the poetic lyricism, and the raw feeling in these pieces. These poems are brambles. These poems are knives.
Ryan, Sara, "Bramble and Knife" (2018). All NMU Master's Theses. 542.