The Law of Marine Constancy

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing



Major Advisor

Janet Holmes, M.F.A.


Martin Corless-Smith, Ph.D.


Jodi Chilson, MFA


This thesis began as an attempt to examine the ways that art, love, and relationships can interact in a form of fragmented narrative through prose poetry. While the intent, when beginning the project that now comprises the second section of this thesis, was not to create an extended series but rather to explore my own interactions with prose poetry, the ways that references to those that inspire me could create inspiration, and the ways that image and poetry can work together; the project quickly took on a life of its own and ended up spanning 33 pages.

Although prose poetry does not seem overly experimental, it was a challenge to my voice since my background, and comfort level, upon entering the program was mostly in traditional forms. Working on this section allowed me a freedom to expand and manipulate my voice that I had not possessed before, and I feel that it was falling into this project that allowed the other sections of the thesis to come together the way that they did.

When looking at "Evidence (the Diana)," I realized that a theme had surfaced without my knowledge; the speaker of the poems shows an apparent connection to the sea. After pondering this, I saw that my personal connection to the ocean was coming through in the poems although the speaker did not have my voice. This realization came shortly before reading To Sleep While Dreaming by Eleni Sikelianos; the book, particularly the poem "What I Learned From Sea," inspired me to attempt to begin writing about my connection with the ocean. This exploration began with "Things I Learned from the Sea" and then mutated into the series of broken sonnets to mythological sea figures, a call back to the love of form I had when I first entered the program.

The first part of the thesis was written last. Not only did beginning with "Birth" feel entirely appropriate, but recreating Aphrodite's story through different lenses allowed me to introduce the theme of the collection while bookending the manuscript with the strongest ties to the ocean and making it feel like a complete work.

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