Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pierce, Catherine

Committee Member

Lyons, Richard

Committee Member

West, Robert

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of English


History, both collective and personal, often provides a stimulus for Southern poets and is useful in bridging the gap between the writers' personal memories and associations and those of the reading audience. The critical introduction to this collection explores connections between personal and shared history in the works of Natasha Trethewey, Betty Adcock, and Kathryn Stripling Byer. These poets convey their own connections to the past through reacting to historical photographs, relaying their own experiences during natural disasters, and setting private incidents within their larger historical contexts. These poets also suggest that time is concentric and malleable, and that history is essentially changed through its retelling. Poems offer a chance to rewrite one's own history. In the final section, I show that historical connections are treated similarly in my own work and that, through making associations with history, my poems also attempt to rewrite the past.