Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Chris Forhan


In the spring of my sophomore year, I enrolled in the introductory course to writing poetry here at Butler University. I am not naturally a poet, but I have an appreciation for reading poetry and, at the time of the course, was curious to try my hand at the craft, despite having had little experience prior to the collegiate level. As may be expected, I ran into obstacles.

I enjoyed playing with language in experiments of sound and rhythm, but, despite the vast array of assonance, consonance, enjambment, and every other technique I employed, the poems I created throughout the course proved little more than random words on the page. I could not craft compelling imagery, imagery that struck and left the reader dazzled with a feeling of evocative, transformative uncertainty-a lingering final note of impact, suspended without a name or a detailed explanation. Such a feeling, the very goal of poetry, testifies to how poetry can (and does) speak to readers on profoundly personal levels, reshaping their views of the world through an awakening of imagination. The dissatisfaction with my poetry at the end of this course led me to question what about a poem enables it to convey a profound understanding of the world or an experience to a reader. What is the state of mind a poet must enter in order to produce art from language?