Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Kathleen Graber

Second Advisor

David Wojahn

Third Advisor

Sonja Livingston

Fourth Advisor

Dr. David Golumbia


Stubborn Work is a collection of poems about definition and uncertainty. The poems herein probe the concept of a continuous self in the face of an ever-shifting landscape. In this work foundations of self-identity, family identity, gender, home, place, and (at the hands of a psychological disorder) even reality itself are shaken and called into question. Over and over, in lieu of every new shift, the poet attempts to re-write themselves—to ask, continually, what it means to move forward after each new shift, and remark on how the past always follows closely behind, directing the course. Investigating the relationships between self and space, self and personal history, self and desire, Stubborn Work illuminates the ways in which a “sense of self” is always changing, moment by precarious moment, and that it is harrowing, actualizing, and inevitable that we are to be forever in search of it.


© James A Bolleana-Clark

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Monday, March 15, 2219

Included in

Poetry Commons