Thesis Title

The Pain of Astronomy

Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Marcus Cafagna


poetry, confessional, family, childhood, trauma, abuse, addiction, recovery, pop culture

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


This autobiographical collection of poetry discusses the affect of trauma on the human psyche, the cyclical nature of generational flaws, and the struggle of recovery. A significant point of tragedy revealed is rooted in a well-documented, American triple-homicide case often referred to as the West Memphis child murders of 1993. Most of the poems are free verse, though formal elements such as repetition, lyric, narrative, sonic coherence, and fixed meter are employed. There are references to and quotations from classic children's literature and pop culture. The construction of this thesis revealed the need for weaving tools of prosody versus using one or two elements, the importance of balancing narrative and lyric elements to create a universal work, and the power of poetry that caters to both casual and seasoned readers.


© Natalie J. Byers

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