Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts




Creative Writing and Environment

First Advisor

Barbara Haas


A Long Time Growing Up, my premier poetry collection, is memoir in verse. Through its unusual chronological arrangement, the collection wings my audience along on my peregrinations as a human being and as a poet, working through the mired, circular, at times timorous and at times euphoric process of coming of age—and the slow realization that there is no clear arc to growth. The poems, strongly anchored in the physical spaces I inhabit, are both deeply specific and universal, each poem telling a personal story haunted by the overarching questions with which we all wrestle. Of what must we let go? To whom are we responsible? Which rules must we follow? How do we create meaning? Where are we ultimately going? Can we run away? Can we return? Do we ever grow to know anything at all? The readers travel with me as I pick my way through the formative years of my adulthood, from the fishing towns of Massachusetts to New York City, from the slopes of the Colorado Rockies to the farmlands of Iowa, through love and its bedfellow loss, through moments of grace and spells of disillusionment, intricate landscapes and intimate rooms. The meditative poems in A Long Time Growing Up document this restive journeying, both in body and mind, while I seek out sure footing and a sense of cohesion in my life as it is becoming my own, and as I strain to receive the lessons we all must be taught.


Copyright Owner

Kelly Slivka



File Format


File Size

66 pages