Date of Completion


Embargo Period



poetry, puppetry, hybridity, feminism, gender, race, class, genre, whiteness, performance studies

Major Advisor

V. Penelope Pelizzon

Associate Advisor

Cathy Schlund-Vials

Associate Advisor

Brenda Murphy

Associate Advisor

John Bell

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Blending poetry, puppetry, feminist theory, critical race and performance studies, this creative dissertation illuminates and responds to the ways in which modern Western binaries separating “high” arts like poetry from “low” entertainments like puppetry are deeply entwined with dualistic constructions of gender, race, and sexuality. Interdisciplinary in form and content, the project’s three major components are a poetry manuscript, a performance studies log, and a critical preface contextualizing the creative work. The preface articulates a “fourth way” approach to poetry scholarship and practice, aiming to reactivate literary poetry’s social impact and to reveal submerged connections among diverse marginalized artists who utilize hybridity as a form of resistance. The poetry collection at the center of the project, Bastard Blues, is a multi-vocal exploration of grief, addiction, and consumption, particularly as they intersect with white American identity. It attempts to reclaim the “bastard” and resist the amnesiac “blues” of whiteness through hybrid poetics both on the page—mixing “high” and “low” dictions, poetic forms, and found language—and beyond; through collaboration the author adapted several of the poems therein to the puppet stage. The log documents these adaptations, as well as dozens of other hybrid poetry/puppetry performances presented from 2010–2013 in Puppets & Poets, a festival created and directed by the author in NYC. Detailing the collaborative art-making of over one hundred professional and amateur artists and youth, the log makes the variety of possibilities within the “puppet poem” form apparent and available for further study.

Available for download on Sunday, December 31, 2028