Date of Award

8-2021

Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

Degree Name

MFA in Writing

First Advisor

David Ryan

Abstract

This thesis includes a selection from WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED, a lyric essay collection that was shortlisted for the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize in 2018. Named for a hexagram of the I Ching, WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED offers an obsessive and unbridled exploration of the meaning of guilt, particularly feminine guilt, and its possible expiation. The collection mixes lyric essays, zuihitsu, memoir, cultural criticism, and literary allusion to create a hydra of highly associative, sometimes grotesque, meditations on my own layered ambivalence about being a woman named for the birthplace of guilt—and the potential of working towards a lost paradise of self-forgiveness.

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