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Title: Spook and the Jewel Thief & The Polyvalent Plaything : three forms of play in 20th and 21st century poetry
Author: Parry, Abigail
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 7981
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis identifies and explores three forms of play in poetry: specifically, the ‘interred’ (or etymological) pun, the hypogram, and the manipulation of what Johnson terms discordia concors, or harmonious discord. The precise mechanics of each are scrutinized with close readings of the work of Geoffrey Hill, Paul Muldoon and Jen Hadfield. Extrapolating from these analyses, the behaviour and potential uses of play are examined more broadly in relation to formal play, sonic play, punning, and oppositional texturing. It will be shown that the more ludic a poem, the greater the risk that it will turn in on itself; the anatomy of the poem is therefore compared to its etymological counterpart, the riddle. The thesis concludes that play, in this context, should be viewed as a fundamentally telic activity. The forms of play examined all function as what may be termed a contrivance of coincidence; successful contrivance behaves surprisingly algorithmically, and sensitivity to its mechanics means that play may be put to poetic purpose. A collection of poems – Spook and the Jewel Thief – is submitted in support of this thesis, and demonstrates some of the ways in which play may be deployed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral