Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Advisor

Peter Covino


Grief is one of the most difficult emotions humans experience at some point in their lives. While each person’s grieving process looks different from the next person’s, everyone hopes they’re able to see the full range of their grief through. But what happens when we don’t get to experience the full ranges of grief? What happens when grief becomes so overwhelming and cumulative that our grieving becomes tangled, hard to discern and too difficult to continue? This dissertation and its poems want to acknowledge this level of grief that makes it difficult for a family to feel confident navigating. Having spent considerable time studying the elegy, the sonnet and the palindrome, these forms work to flesh out the feeling and affect of the immense and exhausting presence of grief and the sometime inexpressibility of grief. The elegies function as a workhorse to lift, remember and sing back to life, those we’ve lost, making us feel closer to them and more securely connected even after death. When the feeling is too intense to put into intelligible language what can be offered to capture that emotion? This dissertation offers a few ways of thinking about grief, sound and palindromes, that work together to create a sound that echoes sets of repetitive vowels. These palindromes want to track the emotional, interior landscape and give it a sound. Other poems in the manuscript sprawl out into the larger world and point to the savagery that is police brutality and anti-Blackness. These poems function as a kind of defense against the prevailing, white supremacist power structures set at various levels of society.

Available for download on Thursday, June 01, 2028