Date of Award


Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Call Number

PS3607.A418 B573 2019

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

T. Fleischmann

Second Advisor

Debra Marquart

Third Advisor

Justin Tussing


Birdman and Other Essays and Stories is a collection of lyric, memoir and personal essays along with short autobiographical fiction that centers around themes of losing a great love, an exploration of suicide, having supernatural or cosmic energy voices and a meditation on the Buddhist principle of wholesome behavior. One essay compares the author, through film critique, to the late President Nixon, following a break up with the central character of the thesis who is the Birdman. Several essays are told in fragmented form, like the braided essay, and several in a more traditional narrative form. The short autobiographical fiction represents two different episodes of the author’s life: from being an actress in Chicago and working in a racially stratified pizza restaurant, to wrestling with a boyfriend with a mental disorder. The recurrent characters are most often ex-lovers and boyfriends, like Kent, CJ, Freddie and especially Tronzo. There are also short essays about almost drowning and learning to swim as a child and about a trash transformation artist in New York City. Each essay and story stands on its own but they are connected by character and circumstance to form a matrix of meaning.


This thesis is restricted to USM access only.