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Title: "A silence that had to be overcome" : 50 poems and a personal statement on poetics
Author: Dickson, Lesley
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 4950
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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‘Scottish’, ‘woman’, ‘lesbian’; these words are markers of identity and a starting point in my attempt to place myself within a poetic tradition. This study towards a statement of poetics considers ideas of identity and tradition as they relate to the public and private spheres. The first chapter considers how traditions are built and the external factors which impact upon them by looking at both physical and more ideological notions of place and space as they relate to nationhood and a sense of belonging. The focus then narrows to consider the situation of female poets as marginal. There is an interrogation of whether female poets are marginalised by the predominantly patriarchal literary canon or if they seek out these liminal borders and hinterlands. This is considered in the context of Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘forced exile’ and the more voluntary travels of Kathleen Jamie. The study then turns to consider the theoretical history behind women’s writing and how this impacts upon their varied ways of ‘reading the map of tradition’. In considering the private, or personal, sphere there is a discussion of the internal impulses which the poet acts upon in order to look at the nature of poetic imperative. This section begins with the statement that ‘every poem breaks a silence which had to be overcome’, and this in turn opens up questions of how external silencing might affect the internal impulse to assert and/or disclose. With specific focus on mid-twentieth century American Confessional poetry, further questions are asked regarding the ‘worth of art’ and the poet’s decoding and self-censorship of their own work in order to both hide and break taboos surrounding sexuality and privacy. The study then becomes more specifically personal in the reflective chapter which deals thematically with a selection of my own poems from the folio. This is in order to chart not only the evolution of my work but also the evolution of my own poetic imperatives. The final chapter reflects upon my use of free verse, looking briefly at the history of the form from the early twentieth-century onwards before going on to consider how the various theories and poetics which have grown out of the broadly vernacular, ‘free verse revolution’ have impacted formally upon my own work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English poetry