Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

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

First Advisor

Graham Foust

Second Advisor

R. D. Perry

Third Advisor

Lindsay Turner

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer Pap


Creative writing, Poetry


This dissertation is a collection of lyric poems, Surety, accompanied by a critical essay on Barbara Guest. Surety gives voice to a cerebral speaker who inhabits, navigates, and traverses various domestic spaces, while also attending to the landscape and politics of rural Iowa. Its poems move by recursion and repetition, corrupt linear time, and contend with trauma-related ruptures of chronology and space. Grounded in my memory of living in Iowa in 2015, a year that brought political textures and ecological tensions to the surface of daily life in a small-town community, Surety takes a calendar year as an experiential and self-archival frame.

The critical preface claims Barbara Guest as an exemplary practitioner of the kind of lyric thinking enacted in Surety and informed by her triangulation of the writerly I, the lyric you, and the reader, who by turns witnesses and participates in the language (what Guest calls the orchid position). This dissertation creatively performs and critically examines the affective dimensions of this kind of lyric movement: how impressions— poetic hauntings—become a place, and how correspondences between I and you inform and direct readerly inhabitation of the poem.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Anna Zumbahlen


Received from author

File Format




File Size

106 pgs


Creative writing