Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Chiyuma Elliott

Second Advisor

Leigh Anne Duck

Third Advisor

Kathryn McKee

Relational Format



The following thesis focuses on the role of “place” in the poems of two black South Carolinian poets, Nikky Finney and Kwame Dawes. Borrowing from cultural and humanistic geographers’ myriad understandings of place, as well as philosophers’, I examine the ways in which Finney’s Rice and Dawes’s Wisteria function as meditations on and transmutations of the South Carolina low country in both its physical and non-physical dimensions, ultimately shedding light on historically silenced and marginalized emplaced realities. I also examine how Finney and Dawes employ different strategies of emplacement and their influence on the poems’ structure and meaning. In the final chapter of my thesis, I put my own emplaced poems in conversation with Finney’s and Dawes’s, and I further analyze my creative process and product to understand more deeply the range of choices available to poets interested in poetry of emplacement.



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