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Publication Date

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Comparative Literature


Alan Soldofsky


Almond Songs, Latino, Mental Health, Modesto, Stigma, Trauma

Subject Areas

Creative writing


Almond Songs is a collection of poems that follow a persona through the great tumults in his life. Raul Martinez is a 20-something-year-old Latino living in the doldrums of Modesto, California during the great 2011-2017 drought. The narrative poems follow him as he matures, rebels, and descends into the throes of undiagnosed mental illness. Each poem is a construction of his own, each an attempt to feel and create in a heartless town. As his mental state devolves, the poems become more surreal and sprawling. In the final third of Almond Songs, Raul slowly returns from the brink of suicide to reintegrate himself with his family and culture, gradually returning to a place of balance. This collection is an earnest attempt at addressing the dangers of lingering stigmas surrounding mental illness and therapy from a non-Anglo perspective using a reconfigured form of Confessional poetry.