Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mike Sell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Krzysztof Kaniasty, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kenneth Sherwood, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Lingyan Yang, Ph.D.


This study advances the thoughts of literary trauma theory by discussing fragmentation, isolation, abjection, unhomeliness, and traumatic figurative language. The theory pulls from psychological theorists as Stevan E. Hobfoll who wants to objectify stress as collective rather than individual trauma, and Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart who focuses on historical trauma. The focus of the application is on Keiho Soga, Mitsuye Yamada, and Lawson Fusao Inada, who had experiences in Japanese internment camps, as well as the poetry of Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, and June Jordan, who are examined as they attempt to represent the trauma and the black experience while attempting to navigate a new form of representation outside of the white aesthetic. Finally, the study examines Native American poets Robin Coffee, Linda Hogan, and Peter Blue Cloud, all of whom write on trauma still inherent within Native American cultures stemming from the treatment of their ancestors, and people yet today, by a racist white society . The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how collective stressors and trauma manifest within a cultural and are often presented in that culture's poetry.