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Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Alan Soldofsky

Subject Areas

English literature


Listen, If You Have a Minute is a collection of poems with a central focus on addiction, homelessness, mental instability—often through a socioeconomic lens—from a prevailing first-person point of view. About half of the material is situated in San José’s Midtown neighborhood and the work is divided into four sections. “Origin Stories” moves from a global, to an ancestral, then a personal perspective on legacy and experience. “Around the Block” compiles a metropolitan collage with attention to blight-amidst-plenty and individual struggle during hard times. “Neighborhood Outliers” attempts a direct and compassionate engagement with several unsheltered people living within a one-mile radius of my apartment. And though its topics are miscellaneous, the final section—“Stragglers”—devotes significant attention to addiction and mental instability before ending with a wider, more hopeful poetic embrace. The poems tend to shift, with purpose, between a serious-sincere and comic-ironic tone, making use of four modes: sonnets, semi-formal stanzas, free verse, and prose poems. Bound by its primary themes and surroundings, the collection gives special attention to present-day San José.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 30, 2028