Ashley Nichole Stevens, University of Texas at El Paso


When I initially began researching for and composing this collection, the idea I had in mind was a simple one: tell my great grandfather’s story, on many Lemko-American immigrants lived in the early 1900s. However, it took several months for me to realize this was not the complete story. It required refinement. While I had always felt a significant connection to this particular side of my family, I could never articulate why. The genealogical and historical research I conducted spoke for me. My great grandfather survived numerous traumas associated with being an ethnic minority in his homeland as well as being an immigrant in the United States – all trauma associated with his identity. After surviving my own traumas related to my identity, I realized my intense interest in him was, in part, the result of generational trauma bonding. My new idea was immediately apparent: tell our survivor stories within the realm of trauma literature using prose poetry, family documents, and photographs. The choice to utilize prose poetry was not a conscious one; rather, that was the form the first several poems took. Creating a hybrid collection was done deliberately to put the reader in contact with a part of history they may or may not be aware of. My collection, Vatra, is a testament to the transformative nature of trauma.

Subject Area

Creative writing|History|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Stevens, Ashley Nichole, "Vatra" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29998190.