McLaughlin, Riley

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: English (Concentration in Creative Writing)

Minors: Professional Writing, Women’s and Gender Studies

Thesis Director: Michele Morano, Department of English

Faculty Reader: Jen Finstrom, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Bio: Outside of her studies at DePaul University, Riley worked at the university’s Writing Center and held multiple roles there, including co-facilitating the creative writing workshop group, Writer’s Guild. She also was the Poetry Section Editor for DePaul’s literary magazine, Crook & Folly, during this past academic year. In terms of her thesis project, her interest in the connection between the moon and femininity stemmed from her own spiritual practices and a desire to explore that further as a poet.

Abstract: Throughout history, the moon is commonly conceptualized as feminine in contrast to the dominant, masculine sun, with the moon representing qualities like gentleness, emotions, creativity, and motherhood. While men often perpetuate this association in a condescending or misogynistic way, many female poets have instead utilized their work to express their own understanding of this connection between the moon and their personal feminine experiences. Riley’s poetry chapbook adds to this discourse, utilizing the moon as an overarching symbol and structural element in conjunction with poems focusing on her own personal experiences growing up and as a young woman.

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