Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Steven Schreiner, PhD.


Steven Schreiner

Eamonn Wall

Nanora Sweet


This work is a two-part collection of poems examining creative loss and gain and human dysfunction. The first part details the struggles of Nigel Rain, a persona born through an artist’s pen who finds himself abandoned by his creator. Nigel believes himself saved through the perpetuation of desire, and these poems show Nigel’s attempts at redefining his purpose in life by projecting his fortunes upon a woman he believes to be an embodiment of the Tarot card of helpful fortunes, the Star. Nigel’s tragedy is his failure to realize and ultimately survive the fragility of human connections. Language proves as frail as emotion. The second part of the collection spreads dysfunction beyond Nigel’s world and into other arenas of human interaction, from politics and war to encounters at the grocery store and failed swimming lessons. The stability of experience is always in question.