Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lyons, Richard

Committee Member

Pierce, Catherine

Committee Member

Kardos, Michael

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


This collection of original poetry is preceded by a critical introduction that includes an exploration of Sylvia Plath’s elegiac poems, particularly her failed attempts to respond to grief. Similarly, the following poems deal with failed attempts to assuage suffering and how one can address his or her need to be loved when that need is unmet. The essay follows Plath’s use of the traditional elegy to create her own elegiac poems about her dead father, using strategies such as mythologizing the dead or wishing to join the dead. Her strategy evolves into an exorcism of grief in her emotionally heavy poems, such as “Daddy” or “Lady Lazarus,” and later into an exploration into her speakers’ abject consciousness. The essay introduces my own poetry with its discussion of work that unapologetically confronts many forms of adversity, of inevitable anguish that follows, and of ways to respond.