Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Elizabeth Countryman


Informed by the intersection of region, personal history, and religion, this manuscript embraces the pastoral world with transgressive and coy humor. The reader of this collection is invited into an idiosyncratic understanding of rural and urban spaces in the Great Lakes region. Often, these spaces are haunted by ghosts, demons, and even the living who wander landscapes that are at once threatening and familiar. These poems include various characters, including amalgams representing the speaker’s father, grandfather, God, and other masculine presences. The bodies in these poems remember loss vividly, and both the phantoms and the speaker are perplexed as to why they have been summoned and what is expected of them. The manuscript pairs narrative immediacy with intricate orchestration, constructing a kind of writing that hurries the reader along while also reaching back to the echoes of earlier moments. Ultimately, these poems seek peace through negotiating an apprehension of beauty and the importance of rationality.


© 2021, Katarina Merlini

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025