Student Research Projects

Reflections on the Architecture of Sentences

Student Elizabeth Melby
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department English
Course English 398: Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop


As both a fiction writer and poet, I spend a lot of time concentrating on the design and architecture of a sentence. This presentation will explore the process of structural configurations such as line breaks in poetry and the variation of sentence lengths in fiction. To do so, I will present one of my original poems entitled “Coma” and an excerpt from a short fiction piece that I wrote entitled “The Grub Estate.” Accompanying my own personal works, I will use brief excerpts from Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and from published poet Michael O’Brien’s Sleeping and Waking to illustrate the points I make about constructing sentences for certain effects. As well as discussing the technical design, I will delve into the importance of how sentence structure pertains to the overall theme and feel of a work.


National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Missoula, Montana


Elizabeth Melby, 2010, "Reflections on the Architecture of Sentences", Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research