Term of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Richard Flynn

Committee Member 1

Julia Griffin

Committee Member 2

David Dudley


Focusing on history and autobiography throughout her career as a New Formalist poet, Marilyn Nelson cross-writes to audiences as differentiated as the subject matter of her poetry itself in order to communicate the importance of recognizing a personal connection with history through the context of cultural and social history. Through a discussion of selected poems from works marketed to children, adults, and both simultaneously, the common concern of all of her poetry reveals itself as discovering and re-casting American history that is inclusive of all groups, but especially as working to create a platform for influential African-American individuals whose stories are most often omitted from the mainstream narratives of American history. Casting the voices of these individuals in poems whose accessibility invites readers from all levels to participate in the re-learning and revision of American history, Nelson creates crossover works that speak to the importance of such a lesson for the hope of a future freed from the dehumanizing prejudices that wreak havoc on her poetic subjects, including her own family and herself.

Research Data and Supplementary Material