Let the Forest Go

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

W. Scott Howard


Creative writing, Poetry


Let the Forest Go is a hybrid creative/critical dissertation that explores how subjectivity manifests at the level of image, figuration, sonic patterning, and style. It begins with a scholarly essay, entitled “‘Low be it: lustily he / his low lot: Queer Excess, Subjectivity, and Contradiction in the Poetry and Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins,” that approaches a mode of reading Hopkins that encompasses the contradictions that informed his character. Through his excessive mode of poetic articulation, Hopkins seeks a close relationship with his audience through sensuous description, even as his style and forms are inflected by his religious, ascetic lifestyle. Similarly, in the creative portion of the dissertation—Let the Forest Go—the speaker is at home in the mode of poetic excess. The book spans and blurs genre distinctions, allowing images and echoes to accrue without forcing revelation. As the book bears witness to such devastation as the opioid epidemic, the rise of near-dictatorship, ecological degradation, and intergenerational Appalachian trauma, it is also an intimate documentary of place. Together, the critical and creative work shed light on how speakers enact an embodied subjectivity tied to marginalized identities while arguing that excess is a viable form of articulation for contradictory vectors of thought.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

Rights Holder

Justin B. Wymer


Received from author

File Format




File Size

167 pgs


Creative writing

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