Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in English

First Advisor

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Second Advisor

Jay Watson

Third Advisor

Melissa Ginsburg


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



“Ground Level” is a full-length poetry collection situated at the intersection of ecopoetics and psychology, where the theme of “grounding” one’s self continually emerges in the midst of personal geographical changes and experiences of collective social trauma during a period of prolonged immersion in the natural world. By exploring through an array of poetic forms, structures, and experimentations including golden shovels, contrapuntals, haikus, an abecedarian, a sestina, grounding exercises, poems featuring 20th century children’s television host Fred Rogers, and a sonnet crown which also explores queerness in the 21st century Southeast, the speaker engages with a number of different methods to ground themselves in order to feel connected to their body in the natural world, to develop an ethic of care, and to expand their understandings of interrelationship and ecological community. Through syntactically fresh speakers and by continually returning to and moving through these forms within the manuscript, readerly perceptions of the webs of relationships involving self, ecological communities, place, the temporal, and language might be affected and altered.

Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025