English, Department of


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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 Grace Bauer. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2010
Copyright 2010 Dana Boyer


This thesis is composed of original poems written while studying both writing and literature at the University of Nebraska. The introduction partially discusses the role that women have played in writing in the past century. It discusses the poetry of Elizabeth Spires, and the prose of Virginia Woolf and Tillie Olsen. More specifically, it focuses on the work that these authors have done on the subject of silence, focusing on whom and what have conspired to work against authors, specifically female ones. These obstacles include economic standing, gender, and emotional issues. The introduction then branches out to discuss the specific personal obstacles that were faced in the process of writing.

The thesis is written in the manner of a chapbook. It includes four sections that draw their names from the four seasons, and the subject matter varies accordingly. It uses the four seasons as a framework, and builds on them to create a narrative arc throughout the poems. The seasons are all connected to a specific emotional time, which creates a space to discuss both the benefits and disadvantages of speech and silence.

Advisor: Grace Bauer