The Luggage-Smuggled Concertina

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Eamonn Wall, PhD


Drucilla Wall

Thomas Glenn Irwin


The Luggage-Smuggled Concertina is a collection of poetry tracing the persona’s struggle for self-awareness, maturity, love, and artistic definition within the inner landscape of a self that is screened against an outer world. Among various themes is a neo-Romantic interest in the ways in which Nature—external nature, meaning land/flora/fauna/sea and sky—reflects and clarifies human consciousness. It is hoped that such poems, many occurring in the first section, are couched in verse that veers away from the Pathetic Fallacy, whereby the persona finds in Nature a pat sympathy with his/her mood. Rather, the poems attempt to come to terms with how Nature further complicates the interior state, rather than simply reflects it. In other ways as well, the persona struggles to attain greater self-awareness. Fleeting recognitions steal through the guarded mind to discover lapses in resistance that enable (perhaps unbeknownst to the persona) growth in feeling, a hard-won, more mature emotional life, one much larger than any given momentary recognition. Contexts explored include memory and desire, death of love, and loneliness and yearning, as if they were seeds cast both at home to the Midwest wind, and abroad into the sea breeze of Ireland. In the final section, the impulse of the poet-as-persona to achieve, some day, artistic maturity further defines the self, which is locked in dialogue with artists whose work inspires the persona’s own practice.

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