Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pierce, Catherine

Committee Member

Kardos, Michael

Committee Member

Lyons, Richard

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


Humor can serve as a tool that helps people understand and discuss serious issues. Approaching a dramatic topic with a humorous tone can make an issue easier to process by helping it to be more accessible. One of the primary purposes of poetry is to connect people with their emotions, and one way to achieve this is to help readers comprehend snapshots of life that echo their own experiences. The poems in this thesis strive to address serious and taboo topics through humorous and casual language. By combining a light-hearted tone with dark or unusual situations, these poems illuminate and overcome the taboo attached to subjects such as familial relationships, alcoholism, and death. My critical introduction will examine the importance of humor as a means of addressing experiences that might be seen as excessively dark or distressing by using the works of Billy Collins and Tom Hunley.