Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation




Creative Writing

First Advisor

Nikky Finney


This thesis uses poetry to explore my history and those of my matriarchs now that I find myself at the end of the line. The writing of this manuscript entailed interviewing my parents and their parents; researching Augusta, Ga and Brooklyn, NY have been particularly helpful in reconstructing the worlds my matriarchs inhabited from the 1940s to present. The work includes various characters—some amalgams representing my mother and grandmother—others, perhaps less realized currently, employ archetypes in an effort to turn their referents to unveil some truths about what it is to be an American. They include American Girl, Abiku (in this case, a girl-spirit), and Lavender Menace a queer woman in considering mothering a black boy. The American Girl series is intended to offer snapshots of a black girl’s quotidian life as counterimage to the stars and stripes American Girl pop culture would have girls strive to be. The collection, as it develops, is moving toward a sustained close look at two mother-daughter relationships. I hope the fully realized version of this collection will reveal something essential, relatable, and legible about American black motherhood/daughterhood