Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Advisor

Peter Covino


A literary critique of the American working-class experience must be accessible to working-class readers if it hopes to impact or perform any service to its intended audience. Due to its ability to interrogate forms of institutional control that maintain the social hierarchy under which working-class Americans live, a formally experimental literary approach proves likely to be the best approach for critiquing the American working-class experience. Unfortunately, because formally experimental literature requires access to the time and resources needed for training in and exposure to a tradition of artistic experimentation, most working-class readers find formally experimental literature inaccessible. The work in this dissertation demonstrates the practical application of an approach to creative writing that has been devised in hope of bridging the gap between working-class access and the formally experimental literature that offers an effective critique of the American working-class experience.

To accomplish the task of bridging the gap between formally experimental literary critique and working-class accessibility, this dissertation combines sections of formally experimental poetry with more accessible sections of narrative prose in a work of creative writing. The more accessible sections of narrative prose are calculated to provide enough experiential context to the poetry sections that the entire book becomes accessible to the working-class reader. As a supplement to the creative work, a critical introduction analyzing the book’s relationship to theories of writing and social critique is included. Taken together, the critical and creative sections of the dissertation develop a theory of writing that culminates in a practical application of those theories. The text of this dissertation doubles as a document of the development of this theory and its practical application, which also serves as its own critique of the American working-class experience.

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