The poems in this thesis explore mid-life feminism, family, mental illness via anxiety and panic, identities of southern girlhood/womanhood, and the challenges of a social media saturated life. Mothering plays a large part in many of these poems, both embracing it and confronting gendered expectations about it. Telling the truth is explored through poems about white women's complicity in racist systems in the southern United States and how being quiet about it benefits us. Fear and the myriad ways it has manifested in my life is a common thread in this work, especially the fears that accompanied white girls growing up in the Southern U.S. during a time of shifting societal roles and cultural values. The speaker in these poems both deny and celebrate the cultural, political, and environmental influences that shaped her early years. As a feminist poet in mid-life with a teenaged daughter and a teen and pre-teen son, I have a tenuous relationship with the influence of mass media. Controlling screen-time for my children and monitoring my own intake of news, braggadocio and ex-boyfriends on social media is a constant, anxiety laden burden. I am more comfortable in a world that does not always revisit itself. I have spent years trying to erase the effects of Texas big hair, provocative clothing, alcohol, and sexually explicit music, video and advertising on my life. Other times I yearn for an escape back. Poetry challenges me to look backward with bravery. These poems reflect the forces of memory and modernism that both limit and liberate modern women. In Trump's America where women are demeaned and silenced through populist rhetoric and legislation, it is more important than ever to magnify female, truth-telling voices and this collection is intended to contribute to positive change.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Matejowsky, Lorena, "I Have Questions" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6414.