Date of Graduation

Fall 12-7-2023

Document Type

Restricted Thesis - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Writing (MFAW)


College of Arts and Sciences


Creative Writing

First Advisor

Brittany Perham


We follow a narrator becoming a parent during times of war & pandemic & climate chaos while losing many beloveds. This book explores working with grief and loss on both collective and individual levels, as well as intergenerational trauma. It is also a book about finding resilience and joy without turning away from what’s hard. This book is a commitment to love during wartime.

This book confronts taboos regarding mourning in public and discussing the impacts of war and militarism. Dominant culture demands numbness at the cycles of massive violence characterizing our times; this numbness diminishes agency. Here, a framework of somatic principles creates an arc that invites thawing and encourages a reimagining of safety. We explore the tension where the impulse to talk about trauma conflicts with learned survival strategies of staying small and quiet to minimize threat.

The poems illustrate effects of trauma through the speaker’s perception of the world as a new parent recalling a troubled childhood while navigating current conditions. In some places, trauma stays submerged in the unilluminated places between poems or where narrative is obscured. In other poems, the speaker brings us into direct confrontation with militarism and trauma through storytelling. Poems use different shapes and ways of engaging the material to produce an evolving emotional arc through the collection.

Available for download on Sunday, December 06, 2026

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