Low-Water Mark

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Elmers

Second Advisor

Dr. William Olsen

Third Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Klekar

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Running-Johnson


poetry, racism, sexism, South, Holocaust, Gulf of Mexico


Low-Water Mark, a book-length work of poetry, exhibits a voice that is much affected by and obsessed with making sense of some atrocities of American and world cultures. Music as diverse as classical jazz, rock, and funk plays an important role for the speakers’ working through of various violent events/disasters such as the Holocaust, Hurricane Katrina, the murder of James Byrd, Jr., and the disintegration of the Challenger shuttle in 1986, among others. Many of these poems also concern themselves with the rural, working-class southern family and the Gulf Coast landscape of the poet’s childhood; the un-silenced female voice; and the animal in us all that cannot be ignored in terms of the violence and affection we are capable of dispensing upon one another. Poems from the dissertation are influenced by several writers and musicians including C.D. Wright, Yusef Komunyakaa, Lynda Hull, Derek Walcott, Virginia Woolf, Miles Davis, and the many musicians and composers who were detained by Nazis at Terezín, Czech Republic, during World War II.

Access Setting

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