Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Olga Abella


understanding reflection is a collection of poems which examines reflection both as an element of memory and self-image. The thirty-six poems represent devices and conventions employed by Philip Larkin, Donald Justice, Kamala Das, and Adrienne Rich. The style and voice mastered by these four poets served as an inspiring force in my creative efforts. The thesis introduction examines the voices of these poets and their influence on my work -- particularly in respect to my exploration of sexual, cultural and familial tensions.

The introductory essay, in essence, introduces my progression through reflection. Throughout the course of my progression, Larkin and Justice served as my primary inspiration. While the themes explored are common throughout poetry (love, loss, anger), they are unique to my examination in regard to my sexual, cultural and familial tensions.

I suggest throughout both the introductory essay and the creative portion that there are two predominant definitions of reflection (the physical act of glancing at a mirror and the concept of reflecting back through one's memory) and that inherently they are related. I found through the course of my thesis that much of our past (that which we reflect back on) bears relevance on the perception we have as we view the physical reflection of ourselves. Whether it is the shape of our nose, the color of our eyes, or how our hair rests in curly waves over the forehead, we find ourselves interpreting our physical reflection based on our familial and cultural background. All in all, my collection of poetry allowed me to use both definitions of reflection to examine the familial, cultural, and sexual tensions as they apply to my past -- and ultimately to understand reflection in the present.

Included in

Poetry Commons