English, Department of



Tammy Trucks, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Document Type Article

A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major: English


This compilation of poetry represents the best of my writing as a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The work is divided into four main sections, each representing the differing aspects of my life and identity. This collection is a combination of short poems, representing the influence of Cherokee poet, Carroll Arnett, and longer poems, representing my work under the direction of Grace Bauer and Greg Kuzma. Mostly free verse and narrative, these poems reflect my studies in American Indian literature and my own cultural experiences.

The poems in this dissertation represent a journey of life and the difficulties of maintaining one’s identity within the confines of other’s beliefs. According to some, I am American Indian, while to others I am not. The first section, “She’s on Her Way to Getting There,” focuses on the obstacles I face when others choose to place me within their own limiting categories. “Distance Creates Few Words” explores those, at times seemingly small, gaps in communication that sever our bonds with others. In the third section, “Driving Home in a Hail Storm,” I learn to confront those whose often narrow minded views seek to keep me in specific categories. Ultimately, in the final section, “Four Bob Dylan Songs on the Way Home,” I realize that I am freed of any narrow definitions of self because no one has the power to define me or limit me.

Adviser: Grace Bauer