The Five-Dollar Shirt

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Campbell McGrath

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Sutton

Third Advisor's Name

Denise Duhamel

Date of Defense



THE FIVE-DOLLAR SHIRT is a collection of poems that explores the connection between the author's experiences working and living in South Asia, Chicago, and South Florida; the phenomenon of global capitalism; and the formative influences of place and culture, both while living in a foreign place and upon returning home. The collection is organized into three sections that loosely follow the chronology of the author's life: "Middle West," "Far East," and "Deep South." Each section includes longer free-verse narratives, shorter lyrical meditations on the associations of specific images, and formal work that incorporates both impulses while suggesting new possibilities that evolve from working within an inherited structure. The poems in this collection reject the ironic ambivalence of one strain of contemporary American poetry, in favor of ardent neoromantic engagement. THE FIVE-DOLLAR SHIRT is ultimately an effort to accommodate seemingly conflicting impulses into an ethical worldview: rootlessness and family, ambition and compassion, progress and conservation.



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