Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Petrosino, Courteney Michelle

Author's Keywords

Poetry; Sonnet crown; Sonnet; Lyric; Contemporary


Nature in literature


This collection of thirty-one poems, composed between June 2012 and March 2013, was inspired by my travels to Belize, Prague, London, and Thailand. The collection is my attempt to negotiate, through poetry, the concept of wilderness, and the “messes” (literal and figurative), which we humans make in our attempts to tame it. Structurally, the sonnet is the guiding formal force of this collection, which is made up of a prefatory section, two major sections, and two concluding poems. The first section, “A Life Hardly Lived In,” contains fourteen short lyric poems. This section is structured so that each poem loosely mimics the traditional purpose of the corresponding line in a Shakespearean sonnet. The second section, “For the Birds. For the Humans,” is set entirely in London. I originally composed this section as a traditional heroic sonnet crown, or fifteen linked sonnets. In its final form, I have allowed the sequence to follow a more organic logic. Although the repeating lines are still present, I have moved away from strict adherence to the form. I extend the lessons learned by my interactions with the natural world to my negotiations of personal identity and relationships. My personal experiences are meant to extend towards a reflection on the wider human condition. Thematically, this collection considers how we thrive when we relinquish the desire to control the outside world. The tension in these poems is how, despite knowing this, we still balk at allowing the wild to take over.