Ann Mary Hart

Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2018

Thesis Director

Olga Abella

Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Caldwell

Thesis Committee Member

Jeannie Ludlow


In this collection of poems, I tell the story of Agnes Sampson's 1591 trial for witchcraft, her torture and death, and her response to these events from the afterlife. Using persona perspectives and utilizing a variety of poetic forms, I reveal the voices, thoughts, and feelings of Agnes and others involved in the trials in hopes to give a full and well-rounded account of the events in a compelling and creative way. Included in the collection are erasures on some of James VI' s poems with the goal of turning them into responses to his actions from Agnes. Using this technique, Agnes treats James' poems like a poetic Ouija board, covering his words to allow her voice to come through. Though persona poems are a long standing poetic device, this collection is rooted in the new historical persona movement, which includes award winning collections such as Patricia Smith's Blood Dazzler and Tyhemba Jess's Leadbelly.