Stuart Downs

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jim Wayne Miller, Lynwood Montell, Charles Guthrie


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Original department Folk Studies

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This two part thesis attempts to define more precisely the academic and aesthetic area where poetry and folklore interact.

The first part of the thesis identifies and analyzes the concepts and processes common to poetic expression and the folk experience. These concepts and processes are thought of as threads. The threads are then summarized and placed in a perspective referred to as the weave. Essentially, the weave is the real life situations in which these processes and concepts exist. This analytical section is accomplished in a wide—ranging discussion that draws on authorities in many academic fields. Selected examples of poetry are included to illustrate certain points.

The second part of the thesis anthologizes actual examples of poetic expression stemming from the folk experience. The arrangement of the anthology into three sections and the selection of the pieces within the sections are governed by criteria set forth in part one. The anthology can be read in conjunction with the analysis or as a separate entity, on its aesthetic merit alone.


Arts and Humanities | Folklore | Poetry | Social and Behavioral Sciences