A Book of Uncommon Haunting

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

Degree Name

MFA in Writing

First Advisor

Kate Zambreno


A Book of Uncommon Haunting is a cycle of linked lyric essays on the poetics of grief that assumes different forms: the travelogue, the commonplace book, the academic talk, and the instruction manual. It is a portrait of a place, a queer intellectual history, a family genealogy, and an inventory of obsessions. Through personal, literary, and historical observation, I meditate on affectively charged “tokens” that contour my imaginary: the ruins that inspired Wuthering Heights, ghost stories, a cabin in Maine, Woolf’s “On Being Ill,” my parents’ possessions, and the Old Quaker Cemetery in Nantucket. Each essay distills insight into the destabilized subjectivity and ambivalent chronologies of a life spent mourning. The manuscript embraces a collaged chorus of diverse voices that have shaped how I perceive my fractured past, including Melanie Klein, Anne Carson, and Marcel Proust. Writing against a narrative arc that culminates in closure, I explore the reparative potential of loss as the very thing that kindles creativity and survival.

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