All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Adam Vines

Advisory Committee Members

Kerry Madden-Lunsford

Lauren Slaughter

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2019

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts in Education (MAE) School of Education

Abstract

The poems in this thesis function on two different levels. On one level, they explore the similarities and differences between Chicago and Birmingham, the two places in which I have spent most of my life. On another level, these poems attempt to reconcile the differences between my younger and older selves, both of which have existed in environments fraught with social and political tensions. The first half of this collection explores Chicago and more closely examines my ancestry and family history. The poems in this section also endeavor to deconstruct stereotypes about Chicago and to depict the city as a place in which love, loss, and innocence can coexist. To bring this section to life, I incorporate the voices of my grandparents and my mother into some of the poems. The second half of the collection looks at my daily confrontations with Alabama’s complicated history. These poems are inspired heavily by the works of William Christenberry, whose haunting photographs of Alabama seem to confront its past. As a result, the poems in this section take a step beyond a lived reality and attempt to reimagine Alabama in its past, present, and future. As a whole, this collection of poems comments on my existence as a black woman in two distinct environments, highlighting the role in which geographical location plays in my everyday interactions.

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