English, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Hilda Raz. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 Monica Rentfrow


Rethinking Repair is a semi-autobiographical collection of serious and humorous poetic works that explores effects a body with dwarfism has had on one individual. Through personal experience, Rethinking Repair is a collection of poems that explores the effects a body with dwarfism has had on one person. Most of the poems lean on a precise moment when dwarfism—a rare medical condition present at birth—directly has influenced the emotion or outcome of a situation. Conversely, I illuminate moments when dwarfism has had absolutely no direct influence on my experiences; I do this to counterbalance the possible perception or belief that all the experiences in my life center on dwarfism. Indeed many poems are simple displays of managing the “repair” of familial and everyday stresses. In this way, the collection serves as an example of an unusual life experience. Because it focuses on the realities and exigencies of living with dwarfism, this narrative on repair is a crucial addition to the discourse of diversity studies. More specifically, this collection will further the discourse of dwarfism in literature. The poems collected in Rethinking Repair are organized in three sections—each of which contains poems that center on the concept of repair to the body, the family, and the mitigation of everyday stresses. Poetic influences include such poets as Mary Oliver, Ted Kooser, Paul Guest, and James Cihlar; professorial influence includes Ted Kooser, Hilda Raz, and Grace Bauer.