Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English/Creative Writing

First Advisor

Jill McDonough

Second Advisor

Lloyd Schwartz

Third Advisor

Thomas O'Grady


McClung’s Book of Sermon Illustrations for the Itinerant Evangelist explores the many junctions of family, religion, and narrative. Paul McClung, a wily backwoods evangelist, preaches an unconventional salvation brought about by the Word “that severs soul from body for all to see.” McClung’s sermon sonnets serially interrupt the book’s other three sections: “Yardwork,” “HIC HABITAT,” and the “Shenandoah Studies.” “Yardwork” endeavors to trellis the snaky vines of family in forms ranging from the ghazal to the pantoum. “HIC HABITAT” develops further the themes of dissolution and recovery in environs both tropical and classical. The book’s final section, the “Shenandoah Studies” is comprised of thirty six fragmentary narratives told from imagined and real voices from the Shenandoah Valley. They serve as artist’s sketches, capturing the brief essence of the narrative for further meditation and elaboration.


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