Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Nikky Finney


"CAPABLE” is a full-length manuscript of poetry. The speaker of the manuscript interrogates her family’s past, specifically the past of her father. The speaker details how her grandmother abandoned her father as a young boy. This story of abandonment, and its aftermath, is expressed through portraits of the speaker’s family members. The most prevalent theme—freedom to choose one’s own path despite familial obligations—is seen through the grandmother’s leaving and the speaker’s own sexual experiences. Both the grandmother and speaker make decisions that alienate them from their families. Their experiences are juxtaposed in a way that presents the grandmother as a role model for the speaker. Generational inheritance is prevalent throughout the book, as the speaker’s grandmother passed before she was born. By the end of the manuscript, the speaker comes to terms with her grandmother’s family betrayal and absence. Over the course of the poems, the speaker gains confidence in her promiscuous nature, and, ultimately, reaches self-actualization as a sexually free woman. The speaker’s maturation and self-actualization are shown through recurring gardening and orchid imagery.

Available for download on Monday, May 15, 2023