Ghost Tree Social

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

Denise Duhamel

Third Advisor's Name

Steven Blevins


Queer, Hauntology, Utopia, Anti-utopia, Femme, Transgender, Ecology, Hudson River, Bondage, Male Femininity, Social Justice, Queen

Date of Defense



GHOST TREE SOCIAL tells a coming out story of sorts. In terms of style, many of the poems are short, imagistic lyrics, though some are extended catalogues. Specific natural images—lakes, rivers, and snow—are often contrasted with cultural markers. The imagistic poems are thinking through the work of Sylvia Plath. The catalogue poems shift between diaristic, narrative, and critical modes, responding to the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop and the essays of Edouard Glissant.

Voice-driven fragments disrupt the more traditional lyric poems. The fragments fall between formal lyrics like confetti from a gay club’s rafters; or the fragments hold the lyric poems in bondage. The lyric poem then re-signifies as form through resonances with the other discursive and poetic form of the fragment. Following critical writers such as Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde, the re-signification of lyric form reflects the need for new signs for self and community organized queerly as opposed to more typical binary categories—man or woman, living or dead, rich or poor, white or black—where the first term is privileged and the second term often denigrated.



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