Locust skin: a thesis in creative nonfiction
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This creative thesis includes a critical introduction that discusses a brief history and definition of the creative nonfiction genre, the ethical dilemmas faced by the writer when telling a true story, and contextualizes my work within contemporary creative nonfiction. Locust Skin contains twenty-eight original pieces describing my experience adjusting to life as a single mother. Narrative segments alternate with short prose poems that add depth of feeling and a sense of wonder and beauty to contrast with the struggles voiced in the narrative. Through research and the study of works by authors such as Mary Karr, Terry Tempest Williams and Norma Cantú, I was able to establish a framework for the creative portion of the thesis. In writing the stories, I discovered the difficulty in negotiating an effective balance between telling a true story while maintaining privacy for the real people included in the narrative. Objectivity, avoiding sentimentality, and writing about myself without producing an overly self-absorbed collection was also a struggle. Overall, the collection contains short prose pieces that strive to reflect the precise poetic prose of Karr's The Liar's Club, while combining human suffering with detailed descriptions of nature illustrated by Williams' Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place in an unconventional form reminiscent of Norma Cantú's Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera.
Poff, Terri Lynn (2007). Locust skin: a thesis in creative nonfiction. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from