Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

John Gery

Second Advisor

Carolyn Hembree

Third Advisor

Peter Schock


Throughout his work, Wilbur maintains a thematic and aesthetic fascination with kinetic energy, especially insofar as this graceful movement often seems to defy the world’s gravity. Wilbur’s energetic verse and imagery invites readers to delve into the philosophical and spiritual meditations of his poems, as well as to notice the physical world anew. The kinetic aspects of Wilbur’s subject matter, wordplay, wit, and figurative language elucidate the frequent tempering of gravity with levity within his work. Many critics have studied Wilbur’s philosophy, Christianity, metaphors, wordplay, and approach to language as found in his poetry, but this essay attempts to use a framework of kinetic energy potential energy, gravity, and weight to understand these various aspects of his work.


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