Creative Writing Senior Theses
This gallery celebrates the work of the BFA Program in Creative Writing's Class of 2020. Seniors in Creative Writing complete book-length theses in poetry and fiction. Excerpts from their theses appear with photos and other materials.
4 for trying
my pants too tight.
I forget past addresses
Criminals for help
with my homework
Pasha plays ping pong
alright with me
Chloe Daniels stood on the edge of a cliff, long hair tied in a bun, staring off at the body of water below, her gaze following the rock she’d knocked off by getting too close. By the seconds she counted from the top of the cliff before it splashed in the water, it was a thirty-foot drop and Chloe wasn’t having it. She was brave and saying that was enough. She didn’t have to jump off a cliff to prove that to anyone. It just wasn’t necessary. Or at least that’s what she told
herself when she turned back around to Lieutenant Oliver Grayson and attempted an escape, saying, “Absolutely not. You’re not convincing me. No.” She turned back and if her hair was down, her ginger locks would’ve flipped over her shoulder and ran down to her thighs, a sign of Confidence.
I spent my childhood inflating a bubble of noise in my throat, only to deflate it out of fear that it would pop. My sister and only friend, Jane, had taught me how to craft this bubble of stillborn sentences and aborted shouts right around the time that regular kids begin filling their houses with noise. There was no space for us; our mother, with her various giganticisms, monopolized even the air we breathed.
Quote from Writer’s Statement:
“For all of the years I became concentrated on making “good poetry”, I lost the genuine love for
just writing. That’s what Man Down is to me. It is simply just the expression of self in writing. For
many, this collection is about family, addiction, loss, silence, but for me, it is just all of the words
I’ve needed to write.”
In the cards room on the second floor of Lockwood Gardens Assisted Living with a broad window overlooking the garden, Zeke is playing a game of poker with his friends John Tate and Elmer Friedman. It’s a typical morning for the men consisting of nonsensical banter and a game of cards. They are accompanied by a nurse, a young blonde with a slim figure no older than twenty-five. Her name is Denise, but they always forget it so they just call her nurse.
“I wish I had a cigar, poker’s no fun without a cigar,” says Zeke.
AQUA ON STRINGS
We’re holding on by traction
or cohesion. Whichever sticks.
slips like a klutz on the ice.
lose contact with their tree trunks.
The skin on drums
go from white to cloudy grey.
becomes another pharmacy.
becomes too much for a smartphone.
An ocean’s high tide
washes over sandcastles made by kids on the beach.
But it’s never been too high for us.
We’ve had our boiling points
and points we were so lost we became frozen.
Father Time and money have given us surface tension.
It becomes too much
the area around us has minimized.
But we eventually cool down.
They’ve also given us prototypes
so we can add properties and methods to our relationship
so we can grow
The fourth graders walk behind the fifth graders out the cafeteria doors and into the lobby where we wait with excitement for recess. The sky is finally blue again after being cloudy most of the week and the sun is shining bright on this Thursday in Spring. My friend, Morgan,and I are happy to go outside and have a little more space for shooting hoops and not feel cramped in the gym by the fifth graders who build tents with the mats. Many of us start
running like it’s the last day of school and some kids go to their little corners of the yard, but Morgan and I race each other to the basketball court.
It started with ripping off my fingernails. First, the pinky. I figured that would hurt the least. I was wrong. The thumb wasn’t even that bad. Maybe because I had already ripped off eight before that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Well, here goes nothing:
I’ve been trying
to achieve nothing: unwrite
to unwind. The windup:
When I go to the kitchen, Daniel is standing over a sink full of water. His arms submerged and circling, as though he’s cooking soup and his arms are the ladles. He moves in ways that align with the rhythm of the song blaring from the radio installed underneath one of the cabinets. I tap on his shoulder and he does a little jump before looking over to me.
The flash light flickers and fades, leaving the five of us motionless, paralyzed with fear on the seventh floor emergency fire stairwell, surrounded by the darkness of the not-so-long abandoned hotel in a city that hasn’t seen any life in almost a month.
“Shit,” Clyde whispers. “Miles, you’re going to need to get the batteries out your bag.”
My sternum quivers as I lower myself to the landing slowly, so I can take my backpack off. Below us something heavy and metal hit a wall and the echo rattles all the way to the top of the stairwell.
“Everytime I write, I think of my mother. Instead of therapy, I funnel my feelings into my
characters, each of their plights a piece of my own relationship with my mother.”
In order for humanity to survive extinction, the evolution of our species is pushed to seemingly impossible extremes. However, some of these advances may have created something entirely uncontainable.