Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Eimers


The Principle of Flickering is a collection of poems that map our endeavors to survive and make sense of the flux of the world. The title poem introduces the reader to the ways the collection will approach this survival - through the poem's movement into and out of the frames of other art forms, its process of filtering a collage of voices, and its attempts to momentarily apprehend and still sources of internal and external chaos. Subsequent poems continue this engagement with survival in a variety of ways, including a lyrical study of the evolution of finches ("Darwin's Finches"), a meditation on the life and mental illness of Robert Schumann ("Nocturne - Schumann's Letters"), and narrative poems that explore a family's dissolution ("Photo From the Bahamas," "Exchange Rate"). Amidst the chaos in The Principle of Flickering, attentiveness to small details brings moments of grace - awe over the particular beaks of Darwin's finches, the brushstrokes of a Renaissance painting, the paper viewfinder through which the speaker is taught to view a solar eclipse. The collection is influenced by numerous sources, from the crisp lines of Bach and the careful patterns of Brahms to the theories of such disparate figures as Jacques Lacan and John Keats. It is likewise influenced by my creative and scholarly engagement at Western Michigan University, and serves as a culmination of my years here.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Poetry Commons