K Senior’s Documentary Poetry Project Cited in “Gay Military Signal”

English major Gabriella Donofrio ’13 completed what English professor Diane Seuss calls “a remarkable Senior Individualized Project!”

Donofrio wrote a book of documentary poetry about life in the military (before and after the repeal of the “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy) for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer soldiers serving their country. She was on study abroad when the policy was repealed in September, 2011, and didn’t give it too much thought until three months later.

She wanted her SIP to be a book of poetry, and based hers on Mark Nowak’s collection of documentary poetry titled Coal Mountain Elementary. “I first interviewed several military members about their experiences of being gay in the military,” wrote Donofrio. “I then transcribed the interviews and framed poems around the stories that seemed most poignant to me.

The result is a collection of pieces in the voices of seven members of the LGBTQ+ military movement.” Her SIP includes some 75 pieces, some of which were published with a story about Donofrio and her project in the monthly web publication Gay Military Signal.