Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ruth Ellen Kocher

Second Advisor

Noah Eli Gordon

Third Advisor

John-Michael Rivera


The Third Definition of Calm is a narrative built out of a series of short, non-narrative poems. The narrative constructed out of these poems is not a story or linear progression of events so much as it is a progression of attitudes. The poems focus on a husband and wife and the dialogue between them. There are two poems in the book; poems made of short prose blocks that are addressed from the husband to the wife, and smaller, sparse lineated responses. The two voices are distinct and different. At the same time, the book is constantly resisting its own narrative. Shifts in location and tense are constant. The poems lean heavily on the surreal, sometimes to the point of nonsense. Nonsense here has a purpose. The communication between characters is strained to the point of failure. Nonsense is a form of miscommunication. Rather than being static moments that build into a coherent narrative, the timelines and events of the poems overlap and change. The end result is a series of contrasts; a clearly defined relationship between clearly defined characters is illustrated by a swirling world of surreal and obscure objects.