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Title: 'Into the life of things' : a creative exploration of nature in poetry since Romanticism
Author: Cooper, Jennifer Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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The idea that, in John Felsteiner's words, 'poems live on the sensory shock of things', is one which I see as vital to an authentic poetics of nature. This project seeks to explore, partly through research and scholarship but mainly through creative practice, ways of expressing and understanding a poetics of nature that is not just relevant and 'alive' in a twenty-first-century context but which is also rooted in the kind of nature writing that has made my own journey possible. Chapter one considers the relevance of 'nature' in contemporary poetry in light of our current ecological crisis and in particular explores Alice Oswald's unease with the more 'imprisoning' aspects of William Wordsworth's poetry and with nature poetry in general. The second chapter attempts to address the question of how one can engage in language with 'self-organising' nature. It explores the liminal metaphorical spaces and thresholds where language and nature come together and where a strong poetry of wilderness can exist. It takes as its touchstones the work of Nan Shepherd, Gary Snyder and Kathleen Jamie. Chapter three explores notions of habitation and 'thingliness' in the context of the contemporary garden poetry of Oswald and Gillian Clarke. It takes the garden as a 'threshold' and 'habitation' in phenomenological terms: an example of a natural space which encourages the reciprocity and attentiveness important not just for making sense of our relation to wilderness, but also to our relationship with cultivated nature. The final chapter begins with a discussion of language as aperture with particular focus on Oswald's long poem Dart and reflects on some of the practical challenges faced when attempting to write a reciprocal and attentive poetry of nature. Finally, and most importantly, 'Northerlies' is a collection of poems inspired by the Scottish Highlands and draws on, but is not tied exclusively to, the ideas summarised above. The central sequence of poems is based on experiences during my time walking and camping in the Rothiemurchus forest in the heart of the Cairngorms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available