Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

First Advisor

Frumkin, Rafael


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OFMICHAELA ZELIE, for the Master of Fine Arts degree in ENGLISH, presented on March 5th,2023, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.TITLE: A DAUGHTER’S TESTIMONYMAJOR PROFESSOR: Professor Rafael FrumkinA Daughter’s Testimony is a collection of poems in four parts. The first section includes poems that speak to the genesis of the family, the violence of the family structure, and the religious structure that upheld and reiterated that violence. The second section illustrates an exodus from the father (symbolic and actual), the church as a symbol of organized and repressive religion, and fundamentalist Christian understandings of goodness and purity. The third section is centered on lamentation in the contexts of physical, mental, and addictive illness. The final section of the book uses the language of revelation to bring the speaker into new understandings of the body, sex and sexuality, the family and religion. The collection reclaims the idiom of Christian texts and dogmas, including biblical language and allusions to proverbs, parables, and psalms.




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