First Blood is a collection of poetry whose speaker explores topics of adolescence, family, and grief, while also tackling the repercussions of mass shootings. The collection presents almost every character in the first five poems and then is ordered by character, beginning with the speaker's sister. In poems such as "Our Last Conversation," the speaker considers the relationship with her sister and how it gradually unravels after their mother's death, while poems such as "Pulse" explore how quiet life can become when society is pervaded by fear of gun violence. The speaker struggles with accepting death and the departure of her close family in poems like "Kinetic Family Drawing." These poems show the distance between each family member and how coping with grief can create a generational trend towards depression. Amid these explorations, the collection returns to the departed Mother, who the speaker often tries to reconnect with through language and at her grave site. By probing this universal experience of loss, these poems chronicle the speaker's relationship with blood, through first menstruation, first death, mass shootings, etc. It ends on the speaker's father, who becomes a symbol of loss, through his hoarding and inability to care for his own deteriorating body.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Ohlmann, Laura, "First Blood" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 448.