Purdue University Graduate School

File(s) under embargo


posted on 2023-04-29, 01:57 authored by Kirby Reese KnowltonKirby Reese Knowlton

This thesis is a book length collection of poetry. Divided into five sections, the book 

follows a fractured self as it relates to romantic partnership, friendship, sexual trauma, political 

identity, and other factors. The first section introduces the different paradigms the speaker spends 

the rest of the book trying to understand her role within, exploring themes such as the ecstasies 

and let-downs of friendship, sexuality arrested by trauma and body-image, and anxieties about 

climate disaster and economic collapse. The second section grounds the speaker’s experience of 

dissociation in her college years. The third section continues to develop themes from the first two 

sections with an emphasis on the speaker’s relationship to language and its limitations. The fourth 

section, the only standalone sequence of poems in the collection, recounts a set of circumstances 

in which the speaker must reconcile her different factions of self during a crisis. The fifth and final 

section presents a speaker on the doorstep of acceptance of self, attempting to find stasis.


Degree Type

  • Master of Fine Arts


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Donald Platt

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Kaveh Akbar

Additional Committee Member 2

Brian Leung

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