Mountain Roosters

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Young Smith

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

R. Dean Johnson

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre


Men have a peculiar way of teaching young boys how to be men. The peculiarity of it is in those men’s relationship with their emotions. Especially in Appalachia, boys are encouraged to “be a man” and not to “cry like a girl.” They are encouraged to suppress their emotions, to solve problems with violence, and to dismiss the feelings of others. The irony of this collection is that poetry is an emotional artform, exploring with complex language the feelings an interaction or object can invoke. However, the directness of the language is meant to highlight the storytelling I learned from my poppy, Sidney Floyd Moye. It’s a voice that men from Appalachia know well and can relate to. This is a collection about men and is meant, primarily, for men.

Each poem is in a loosely formed section of pieces leading up to a character sketch of an influential male figure I have known. Some of these men are friends and some are family, but they all share ubiquitous and subtle traits of the masculine ideal. The poems in this collection are meant to subvert the expectation of what is truly masculine. It is meant to give a man a chance to cry, and anyone else an opportunity to understand it.

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