Publication Date

Summer 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Tom Hunley (Director), Cheryl Hopson, and Wes Berry

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts


The Barren Springs Songbook is a poetry collection exploring Appalachian themes through the lens of three representative characters and my own experience. The poems presented are in blank verse and lean heavily on musicality, as each poem features an epigraph from my own Great Uncle Henry’s song lyrics. The poetry explores themes of poverty, folklore, feminism, and Christianity within the context of Barren Springs, an insular Appalachian community. The characters of Henry, India, and Myrtle provide a glimpse into how things have been in my family history, and the more modern poems representing myself show the cultural shifts that are underway. With careful attention given to sound and imagery, the collection represents a cohesive voice uniting the poems and developing a layered narrative on the current state of Appalachia. The collection attempts a balanced approach to every aspect of the subject matter, offering an honest portrayal of the beautiful and the disappointing aspects of this rural world I was born into.


Appalachian Studies | Creative Writing | Fine Arts | Poetry

Available for download on Saturday, July 29, 2023