Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Call Number

PS3619.A44965 P47 2017

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

T. Clutch Fleischmann


Perseverate, Linger, a collection of lyric essays concerning autism spectrum disorder, depression, marital issues, grief, and suicide focuses on autism and how the disorder takes its toll not only on the children diagnosed with it, but also on the husband and wife who live life guiding, loving, and fighting for their children who, at the tender ages of six and three, must establish developmental foundations in spite of it.

The essays employ techniques and literary devices found within the genre of the lyric essay such as fragments, precise and beautiful language, and specific, interesting use of punctuation and form in lieu of the carefully crafted scenes indicative of traditional creative nonfiction that “show, don’t tell.”

Each written work varies in length, form, and structure, but always follows a loose progression of the couple’s courtship, relationship, marriage, the birth of their children, and subsequent family struggles in the wake of their children’s double diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Some of the essays diverge and stray from that progression in order to meditate on the essayist’s complicated mother-daughter, father-daughter, and sisterly relationships, as well as her grief, mourning, processing, and hesitant acceptance of her own clinical depression and the loved ones and influential musicians who died by suicide.


This thesis is restricted to USM access only.