Geography Lessons

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Eimers

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Nagle

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Running-Johnson


Poetry, writing, accident, body, something opened


This creative manuscript engages with a central tension between "connectedness" and "boundaries." The book revolves around a car accident, but it is less concerned with the event itself than with the ripple effect of such events; that is to say, these poems embody the connective tissues that bring family and body and the external world into one space. In these poems, family identity overlaps and intersects with personal identity in strange and somewhat mythic ways, exploring the desire to inhabit the experiences of our loved ones while also maintaining our individual histories.

Using the metaphorical significance of architectural boundaries—such as doors, windows, and walls—several poems explore the tension between the internal and the external natures of illness and injury. The tension between those "doors" that both connect and separate humanity extends into questions of geography, a sense of place, and the possibility of a singular "home." Thus, this manuscript takes place against the backdrop of the Southern Appalachian region, and it addresses the cultural imperative for an Appalachian literature that moves beyond fixed identities. As such, meditations on family and identity often include lyric explorations of contemporary Appalachian culture.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until


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