Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Samuel Amadon


This poetry manuscript explores loneliness, sexuality, violence, gender/fluidity, the self, the idea of the self, and American capitalism with an irreverent and dry humor. Tragicomic in tone, the poems balance a sense of dire exuberance with personal history and anecdote ranging from sentimental to sarcastic to withering. Located in New Jersey, the manuscript engages with local history, lore, and culture. A wide range of references bridge various ends of the literary canon, while the poems likewise reach for referents from fine art, music, TV, and film. Characters recur as figures of patriarchy, capitalistic work ethic, and gender trouble in various mixtures of real, imagined, and fictive. Similar to these characters, inanimate images blend into commemorative attachments and are threaded together, existentially and anachronistically, with memory. This surrealist collection aims to create a unique space between the past and present and between the actual and the absurd.


© 2023, Katherine Shanks

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025