Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Eimers

Second Advisor

Dr. Jill Larson

Third Advisor

Dr. Heather Addison

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Grace Tiffany


The Road Between Cemeteries is a creative dissertation, a book of poems that makes use of many various forms and styles. I am interested in both the lyric andthe narrative traditions and the heart of this collection, I believe, lies in the space between; the narrative is the road, moving inexorably forward, and the lyric,the passenger dreaming, questioning out the window. I am also interested in contemporary relationships, both those of a private nature such as we have with our parents, spouses, children, and those of a public nature, such as with our heroes in literature, sports and music.

A main question the poems wrestle with is how we as humans face the inevitability of our own mortality and the mortality of those we hold dear in both theprivate and public sphere. Therefore, there are a number of elegies and would-be elegies in the collection that contemplate the permanence and wonder of death, especially in an age when traditional cures such as religion have lost command. A second thematic strand is the question of identity. I am interested in how we define ourselves to ourselves, to others, and how our relative connection or disconnection from other people as well as our past history informs that conception of identity. These poems assert that, though these are difficult questions, often irresolvable mysteries that strain our abilities to live meaningful lives, there is hope, a dignity in making the endeavor, and that the very act of the artist, in this case the poet, can create, out of chaos, meaning. These poems arm themselves with insights from the past, observations concerning the present and, with these tools, surge forward (with more than a little anxiety) to peek in thefogged over windows of the future.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access