In Stellations




Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



This thesis attempts to critique the image of the poet as ‘inspired being.’ Instead, I present two long serial poems that suggest a poetics of obsession, using Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a running metaphor for the work of the poet. This is done, in part, by inverting the Orpheus myth (Eurydice is trying to find Orpheus) and by transforming the sacred rituals of Orphism (an ancient Greek cult that believed the grievous cycle of reincarnation could be broken through ritual) into mundane and perhaps meaningless repetition (both of actions and words). Like OCD, these poems relentlessly fidget and repeat in an attempt to avoid some looming and abstract threat; in so doing, this thesis questions poetic inspiration and meaning—is it genuine, or merely a conditioned response?



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Committee Chair

Mullen, Laura K.

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