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Post-Volcanic Folk Tales

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Abstract

A bouquet of (auto)biomythographic folk tales, Post-Volcanic Folk Tales gravitates around my grandmother's narrative, political persecution, wartime sexual violence country-wide, a profoundly painful migration drenched in desperation and reluctance, matrilineal devotion and disability, and reconciling being in a body experiencing a systemic autoimmune response. An evident string joining sections of my manuscript, I write about a psychic phantom umbilical cord that survives (or is preserved) over generations of women, interrogating transgenerational traumatic repetitions from the perspective of an inheritor; a third generation (though I do not feel this removed) Hungarian woman who was fed stories of war, occupation, displacement, and departure like milk, bread, vegetables, and meat. From the perspective of one for whom homesickness (its pea green persistence) was regurgitated directly into the open mouth. I explore nonlinearities of time and playful yet painful imaginings of wished for transtemporal teleportation (being again with my grandmother in flesh, further receiving narrative) and multiplicities or multidimensionalities of home-making. What is home––how do we define it and how are we defined by it? What does a home hold? What histories purl within it? Post-Volcanic Folk Tales chronicles the erosion of memory by dementia. I write about complications and imperfections of memory and retrieval. I honor the stories my grandmother did share (when lucid and when not), the stories she did not share, and the stories she could no longer share. I invoke her. I visit her. I inquire about healing. I am desperate for her. To memorialize her. To touch what she touched without the prospect of touching.

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68 pages

MFA theses in English Language and Literature are not available for direct download. Users wishing to access an MFA thesis in this collection may request access by clicking the link to the restricted file(s) and completing the request form. If we have contact information for the author, we will contact them and request permission to provide access. If we do not have contact information or the author denies or does not respond to our inquiry, we will not be able to provide access.

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2022-12

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Mort, Valzhyna

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Van Clief-Stefanon, Lyrae

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English Language and Literature

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M.F.A., English Language and Literature

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Master of Fine Arts

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dissertation or thesis

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