Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Jordan, Judy

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF JONATHAN GLENN TRAVELSTEAD, for the Master of Fine Arts Degree in ENGLISH, presented March 27, 2013, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: HOW WE BURY OUR DEAD MAJOR PROFESSOR: Professor Judy Jordan How We Bury Our Dead is a collection of poems that seeks to emphasize a speaker's grieving as he processes his Mother's dying with travel and self-alienation from family- a speaker who places himself in dangerous situations to displace rather than confront his feelings. How We Bury Our Dead does not seek to break the process down into uniform, chronologically-connected steps, but rather, to show a private process, a grief that for this speaker involves primarily a state of denial. The first section begins on a plane flight to Kuwait where the speaker has volunteered for a National Guard deployment as a way of avoiding his Mother's death, followed by the section in which he escapes to Alaska in winter, hitchhiking and staying with people he meets in the towns, and the third and fourth section follow his return home and to his family as well as his acceptance of his Mother's death as he begins feeling pressures inherent to his occupation as a firefighter.

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