In Defense of the Wife is a hybrid poetry collection that negotiates with gendered, cultural, and familial expectations, with a particular focus on the enmeshed relationships and roles women and girls encounter in the domestic sphere. Tracing the speaker's maternal lineage, the collection deals with the overlap between (in)visibility and fetishization experienced by Latina women, as well as immigrant and first-generation identity. A series of etymological poems untangle the roots of rage, violence, and devotion, while fabulist reprieves such as "In Defense of the Wife," "In Protection of the Daughter," and "In Celebration of the Mother" manipulate common idioms and euphemisms to subvert gendered social norms and the familial unit. Two glossary essays catalog the speaker's encounters with formal education, femininity, and Americanness in attempts to define her own identity as the American-born daughter of Cuban refugees. A third essay, "Tiny Mothers," sits at the center of the collection as a lyrical celebration of the love and connection that persists between family despite diasporic rifts. Through lyricism, music, and wordplay, In Defense of the Wife pressures language in its search to name the roles we inherit, reject, and reclaim.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Silva, Veronica, "In Defense of the Wife" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1660.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2028; it will then be open access.