Committee Chair

Braggs, Earl

Committee Member

Wier, Allen; Wilferth, Joe


Dept. of English


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The title, Artifacts, is a compost of words art and fact—with fact as Latin for “something made.” A poet recreates language from syllable, word, and shard, and ropes off sacred or desecrated places. The movement of the imagination from small to sublime, from clay shard or carved flint arrow to cultural landscape, is a useful analogy for poetics – a field school approach influenced by my studies in anthropology. Artifacts’ poems vary in context (place), but each explores emblematic structure, kinetic tension, eco-poetics and a language-driven (vs. idea-driven) process. Sections include: Turning the Field: Structure and Surprise; Examining Shards: Emblematic Poems; Piecework Expertise: Poet as Archaeologist and Curator; and, The Nature of Dig Sites: Locality, Language and Transformation. In conclusion: “The artist, poet, ecologist and archaeologist each use imagination, locality, and all of experience to recreate a whole from fragments, emblems, syllables, and the tension of words, wire and line.”


Gratitude is offered to my teachers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Department of English. Special thanks to Earl Braggs, Dr. Joe Wilferth, and Allen Wier for their thorough and engaging reading of my essay and poems. I am indebted to the writing community at the University of the South as an MFA candidate in the Sewanee School of Letters. No doubt this collection of poems would be closed away in an attic box had I not found a champion in poet Gary Margolis of Vermont, a mentor. I acknowledge the following poems have previously been published: “Morning Walk” (James Dickey Award, Lullwater Review, Emory University, 1995); “American Wife Opens a Package from Iran” (Greensboro Review’s Amon Liner Award for best poem of the year, 1988); “Birds Audubon Never Painted” (Chattanooga Times Free-Press, May 2008); “Just off Blythe’s Ferry Road” (Sequoyah Review, 2015); “Photograph 1942” ( Birmingham Poetry Review, 1988); “Remembering Jerusalem” (Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta 1995.); “The Mending” (Cold Mountain Review, Appalachian State University, 1995). “Farm Dedication” was a commissioned poem for the 2009 McConnell-Hartman Farm conservation project in, where I shared the podium with Wendell Berry and Clyde Edgerton.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




Poetry, Modern -- 21st century


Poetry; Artifact; nature; ecology; art; archaeology

Document Type

Masters theses




167 leaves