English Language and Literature ETDs



Publication Date

Summer 6-12-2022


Even if something’s observable, does that mean we can trust it? In Spectator, a collection of poems in three parts, a speaker asks this question repeatedly. As a child of immigrants, her identity feels constantly in flux and, often, threatened. What does it mean that her identity doesn’t take the form her parents ascribe to her? She finds that her present often feels like a betrayal of the past, especially as she begins to fall in love—which is, in itself, a kind of illusion. An illusion, though, is still instructive—perhaps more so than something we believe, unshakably to be true.

Spectator is a dance between the present and the past. The speaker collects and arranges her memories to try to make sense of her present and, indeed, she finds bright moments of clarity. Ultimately, though, she finds herself manipulating the images of the people she loves to more closely mirror herself—and her self will not stay still.

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Lisa Chavez

Second Committee Member

Gregory Martin

Third Committee Member

Mark Sundeen

Fourth Committee Member

Cedar Brant




memory, identity, retelling, mirrors, apparitions

Document Type


Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2121