Title

A Tender Head

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Young Smith

Second Advisor

Christina Lovin

Third Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Abstract

A Tender Head features a variety of subjects and themes within a poetry manuscript centered on art, multicultural (black and Italian) heritage, and other autobiographical details. These subjects and themes evolve into passions indivisible in their impact on the poet’s identity. In keeping with the artistic focus, A Tender Head is divided into three main sections named for three types of visual art: landscape, portraiture, and still life. The landscape poems in the first section (beginning with “Beckoning”) pertain to nature and work inspired by nature. These poems illustrate a multitude of natural settings while shining a bright light on the beings (both human and otherwise) within these settings. The poems in the portraiture section (beginning with “A Tender Head”) describe the experiences of the speaker, members of the speaker’s family, and other important figures in her life. The final section is more loosely defined. The still lifes (from “Plums in America”) pertain to items, moments, or experiences suspended in space and time.

In addition to its varied contextual elements, A Tender Head hosts many visual and formal design choices, focusing on personal experiences working with and pertaining to art, in both direct and indirect ways. Often focusing on brief moments, the poems in the collection work to highlight its overall connection to the production of visual art forms.

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