Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. William Olsen

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Elmers

Third Advisor

Dr. Daneen Wardrop

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Charles Stroh


What The Machine Says, a collection of original poetry, includes poems of place and landscape that investigate issues of loss and living with that loss. Among other concerns, the manuscript investigates how, and if, loss is kept alive through the use of formal devices, including poetic form and social ritual. Elizabeth Bishop, in her villanelle, ‘One Art,’ repeats her claim that “the art of losing isn’t hard to master,” but adds that one must “Write it!” Her, and others’, instinct to return to an inheritance of poetic structures pervades English poetry as a means of shoring oneself against the ruins of certain losses. The writing of loss, like proving a negative, comes with its own inherent complications and the poems attempt to negotiate those by utilizing historical approaches to the elegy. The creation of art in the face of loss hopes to serve as an affirmation that a loved one’s death is not for nothing.

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