Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Advisor

Peter Covino


Broken Dozer, Haunted Vale is a collection of poetry that explores the principles of ambient language poetics as articulated in its critical introduction. Rather than a poetic focused on a set of thematic concerns, ambient language poetics is an ecopoetic that addresses the writing process itself and proposes an alternative to the internal/external spatial metaphor that inspires creative writing pedagogy premised on the urgency of self-expression. The poems within the collection are an experimental inquiry into what might be possible in making poems if the activity of reading/writing is not motivated primarily by representational and mimetic aims that are described by the literary critic and philosopher Timothy Morton in his concept of “ecomimesis,” or, in other words, the range of techniques writers use to attempt to render in language environments as legible, inhabitable places. Drawing examples from popular music (including Brian Eno, Bon Iver, and the genre of vaporwave) as well as the avant-garde, conceptual work of poet Tan Lin, the critical introduction outlines the dangers inherent in the idea of the poet as truth-teller, whose main goal is to create for a reader a sense of clarity and coherency in an unjust, chaotic world. Ambient language poetics aims to bring the critical concern of the intentional fallacy into the activity of creative composition itself to ask what it may mean to write and teach a literature that begins not with the imperative to speak of what is most in need of artistic articulation, but rather an experience of ambient entanglement with language. Neither purely acquired from external sources, nor merely a tool with which to express internal ideas and sentiments, language is treated in Broken Dozer, Haunted Vale as an ambient continuum out of which poetry takes shape.



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