Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The Unlocking is a collection of poetry with an introduction that outlines my personal perceptions of the stylistic and thematic elements in my poetry and a critical essay. While the forms are varied, the manuscript is arranged around prominent thematic strands, the most dominant of which is perception—the tension between what is perceived and w hat is real, certainty and uncertainty, conscious and subconscious. I want to convey that perception is important but fragile because loss and change are inevitable. In addition, perception becomes problematic because we have to factor the perceptions of those with whom we interact into our own view of reality, which often leaves us feeling confused about what is real and w hat is unreal. In spite of these tensions, there is a sense of longing in the poem s for something stable: grass and other natural objects promise "permanence;" some poems struggle to construct logical formulas with surreal variables that equal truth or "always." Subjects of my poems are my family; friends; dreams; and natural environments such as the fields, ponds, and woods in Ortonville, Mi., and water, lakes, and beaches, especially the Great Lakes. The natural world is a place for reflection, but does not provide security as it does in Romantic lyrics. Science, particularly biology and physics, enters my poems by way of discussion or in the detailed and logical scientific method in which things are observed. Observation is often undercut or interrupted by scientific knowledge or questions, such as in the line "Shape is the illusion that distracts me / from the thought that I could unwrap his body ,/ line him up molecule by molecule, on paper." In my poems, science and the subconscious are factors that further complicate the ability to perceive anything real or stable.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until