Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Rena Mosteirin

Second Advisor

Matthew Olzmann

Third Advisor

Teresa Lust


The fermentation process – an act of breaking down, letting go, and moving forward – is used by the author as poetic lens and as a narrative tool for self-reflection, self-transformation, cultural reflection, and cultural transformation. Akin to our own adolescent maturation, plants, fruits, and vegetables develop protective barriers around their most vulnerable parts in reaction to the health and condition of their lived environment. While serving a purpose of survival in the moment, these barriers will later cause the food to rot and spoil if left unchecked. The act of fermentation is thus explored as a managed process of cultural shift. It is the introduction of a mother, a leaven, a brine, or even an idea, that shifts the environment, breaks down those protective layers, and makes the nourishing (and ultimately delicious) traits more readily available and easily digestible. Thus, fermentation is an act of evolved maturation in pursuit of healthy preservation and can be experienced in many forms. While sourdough bread acts as the primary catalyst for the work, everything from kombucha to inebriates to pickled relish to vinegar is explored in this collection of interwoven poems and personal stories. In the liberal arts tradition of combining critical theory with natural sciences and finding a practical application of the work, this project included the making of every ferment mentioned in the book, the process of growing food (to include growing, harvesting, and milling wheat to flour) and a weekly, sometimes daily, baking and breaking of bread with friends, family, and community.