Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Writing & Linguistics (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Christina Olson


Survival Tips Gleaned from Birds is a chapbook of confessional poetry based on the poet’s experiences during five months studying abroad in Sheffield, England, contrasted with summer study abroad experiences in County Wexford, Ireland. The poems in this manuscript address emotional themes of isolation, loneliness, homesickness, and heartbreak gradually transitioning to hope, peace, and joy. The overall genre of this collection is poetry, functioning as a vehicle for creative nonfiction and fiction. The creative nonfiction subgenres of memoir and travel writing are the primary forms of storytelling, paralleled by four prose poems that illustrate an Irish fairytale, “The Children of Lir.” Survival Tips Gleaned from Birds is a journey narrative told in linear, chronological order. These poems draw from literary tradition evident in the use of Classical and Biblical allusions, persona poems inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the influence of writers such as T. S. Eliot, S. T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and C. S. Lewis. The collection is also inspired by contemporary writers such as Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Kim Addonizio, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Lorrie Moore. Experimentation with style and form, combined with recurring bird image motifs, connect the themes to these sources of inspiration. The four sections each represent personal growth as the speaker overcomes adversity, growing in strength and resilience.