Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Leon Stokesbury - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Dr. Beth Gylys


This dissertation presents thirty-two poems and an introduction to the collection. In After My Third Tattoo, the poems’ speaker explores methods with which she perceives and constructs reality. Her exploration is the dramatic situation of each poem and the plot of the collection. The poems’ speaker regards physical objects, recalls experiences, and discovers how these objects and experiences hold psychological significance for her. With the intellectual and emotional associations she makes among objects and experiences, the speaker constructs, repeats and varies image patterns. Through her associations, she perceives overlaps in: the rational and emotional, the earthly and divine, the order imposed on her by society and the order that she builds through her own agency, and her perception and the perceptions of others. Finding agency through meditation and language liberates the speaker from identity-making terms that the lesbian speaker rejects.


Available for download on Monday, February 16, 2099