Publication Date

Summer 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Alan Soldofsky


freedom, justice, love, poetry, prophecy, truth

Subject Areas

English literature


Prophecy for Sale: On American Rails follows the poetic tradition of Walt Whitman and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. This collection contains five numbered sections which show a progression of the human consciousness. Drawing on the works of Sylvia Plath, Weldon Kees, Jack Spicer, and others, the works in this collection exhibit a strong poetic American voice. Section “I: How Much Longer?” addresses class separation, racism, and inequality. Form mirrors content, confronting a world which seems bent on its own destruction. Section “II: The New Garden,” explores the human impact on nature in more detail and sets up solutions to the problems of inequality, pollution, and the spiritual crisis posed in the first section. Section “III: Living Tributaries,” continues to examine the power of nature. Water is both the source of inspiration and the cause of death. The water speaks to the theme of universal consciousness, to heal divisions which keep us from enlightenment. This intense exploration of water as a vehicle to the spiritual world is amplified in section “IV: Burnt Offering—Seven Hills for Sylvia.” Highly sexualized, these poems seem possessed by Sylvia Plath, and emphasize cooperation to ensure the survival of our species. Section “V: Fairy Godmother: Take us Home” is filled with hope for the next generation, and asks us to seek out truth and deal with it even if it is hard or uncomfortable. This collection suggests that social problems and moral ills need to be addressed so we can heal and grow. It speaks truth to power and offers emotional tools that we can use to solve our most pressing issues. It suggests that a brighter future is attainable as long as we put down our electronics and pay attention to each other.