Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Monika Gehlawat

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Angela Ball

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Luis Iglesias

Committee Member 3 Department



David Lehman’s poem “The Breeders’ Cup” uses cross-generational coterie and ekphrasis to create a poetic poioumenon. When read in terms of art criticism, Lehman’s “The Breeders’ Cup” models creative processes from the past and calls for a rehabilitative ethic in postmodern poetics. Lehman follows the ekphrastic form, which associates a poem with a work of visual art, from his New York School predecessor Frank O’Hara. “The Breeders’ Cup” addresses Édouard Manet’s 1865 painting Olympia through ekphrasis, and the painting of a prostitute becomes a patron saint of parody for postmodern poetics. The poem introduces lust as a metaphor for creative energy whose productive potential inspires meaningful works of art. The speaker self-consciously references lust as creative energy for producing “The Breeders’ Cup” and artworks of the past while modeling a process of rehabilitation for the future.