Masters Thesis


Gorge consists of poetry, prose poetry, and experimental/hybrid-genre pieces that explore obsession, trauma, and memory through personal and historical lenses. A loose narrative framework centers around the archetype of “Mudman,” an anti-hero whose arc follows roughly along the mythological lines of Caliban, Frankenstein’s monster, the golem, and others. His story and the speaker’s relationship with him weave into a fictionalized reimagining of the events of the 1970s and 1980s in Skidmore, Missouri. This rural town was home to Ken McElroy, a man who performed countless robberies and sexual and violent assaults. He was indicted for twenty-one crimes but only convicted of one. Ul1 mately, the story goes, somebody shot and killed McElroy outside of the tavern, in an act described as vigilante justice. Nobody was charged with the killing and it remains “unsolved,” despite 40+ witnesses. This work also contains a “Museum” of found text, mostly sourced online through simple searches of the term “Mudman.”