Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Creative Writing

First Advisor

Samuel Amadon

Second Advisor

Nikky Finney


strike-slip is a work of poetry in which a female speaker seeks answers for a violent past she is just beginning to unravel. By revisiting and reconsidering scenes from girlhood, including the broken objects and split bodies she encountered in the Appalachian wilderness she grew up in and around, she attempts to gain insight into a present state of selfhood that continues to elude her. The poems here come together to conduct an excavation—each memory is an old bone from which the speaker must carefully brush the dust away until she can figure out something about the larger thing it used to be. That is what this work is: an excavation, a piecing together parts of a life that have been scattered over years of trauma. Yet in another sense, this work is also interested in the act of dissection: slicing open the body of the past in order to discern some divine sign hiding beneath. The speaker of this work repeatedly takes on the role of haruspex: observing something by its broken pieces in order to learn something about its hidden nature. And by looking upon these broken-down objects and bodies, the speaker is able to discern something of her own wild nature. By placing her faith in these grotesque and deconstructed objects, she is able to interact with the divine, making a church of the wilderness.


© 2016, Amanda Mitchell