Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

Maxwell, Kristi

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Biberman, Matthew

Committee Member

Kolers, Avery

Author's Keywords

Poetry; queer theory; speculative realism; phenomenology; heidegger


This thesis focuses on a recent development within the study of metaphysics, known as object oriented ontology (OOO), and works out questions of being alongside contemporary poetry. Recognizing the post anthropocentric purchase afforded by OOO’s claim that everything is an object and that these objects are impossible to correlate with, this thesis will look at the use of objects in Richard Siken’s War of the Foxes and Harryette Mullen’s Recyclopedia. Drawing heavily from Sara Ahmed’s queer theory of disoriented objects and Timothy Morton’s ecological insights, this thesis will argue that despite OOO’s advancement, there are critical gaps to fill in understanding what it means to be. Specifically, in close readings of Siken and Mullen, it becomes clear that their use of objects is disruptive and opens up new pathways for OOO to be more attuned to queer aspects of being, deeply ecological, and sensitive to the history of “objecthood” as a category for non-white human beings. Finally, this thesis will demonstrate what an ontological reading of texts looks like in the spirit of disorientation.