Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Beth Gylys

Second Advisor

David Bottoms

Third Advisor

Sheri Joseph


Orbital explores how and why we circle around both awareness and the bodies that surround us. The term “orbital” compresses into a single word the mathematics of calculating the movement of electrons around an atom’s nucleus—a process far more complex than the simple ring structures we learn in science class. In the spirit of its title, my manuscript probes the ways in which people circle around—and occasionally collide with—one another or with the self-knowledge we would rather avoid, especially the challenges posed by gender and sexuality. Moreover, when we are female, queer, or otherwise outside the “standard” orbit, our trajectories can veer off into isolation or thrust us into hostile encounters. The poems gaze into the landscape full of microscopic revelations only the deep observer may see. My collection traverses space and earth, science and psyche as it grapples with how, when we are Othered, we give our lives shape.

Available for download on Sunday, April 26, 2099