Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Department

English

First Advisor

Derrick Harriell

Second Advisor

Ivo Kamps

Third Advisor

Beth Ann Fennelly

Abstract

Lucy Negro, Redux is a collection of poetry that uses the lens of Shakespeare's "Dark Lady" sonnets to explore the way questions about and desire for the black female body have evolved over time, from Elizabethan England to the Jim Crow South to the present day. Research for the collection began with the discovery in early 2012 of a connection between the historical Elizabethan figure Black Luce--a notorious brothel owner--and William Shakespeare, by Professor Duncan Salkeld of the University of Chichester. A grant from the University of Mississippi yielded an opportunity for on-site research with Dr. Salkeld in order to explore Bridewell Prison records, now held in the Bethlem Hospital Archives in England. Galvanized by that research, the work evolved into a collection that experiments with form, dialect, the adoption of historical personas, and the very voices these personas project.

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