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The Poetics of Site: Reading the Spaces of Experimental US Women Poets

Hurley, Claire (2017) The Poetics of Site: Reading the Spaces of Experimental US Women Poets. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:67055)

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Language: English

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Abstract

My PhD research centres on three innovative 20th Century American women poets: Lorine Niedecker, Barbara Guest and Susan Howe. Taking inspiration from Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, my research examines how these poets inhabited specific compositional sites. My thesis draws on extensive archival research to reconstruct a picture of the woman poet at work, arguing that for the female experimental poet in the 20th century, the compositional site - namely the workroom that the poet occupied - functions as a critical foundation for the evolution of her poetics. By attending to the particulars of Niedecker's cabin, Guest's studio and Howe's archive, my work considers the intersections between lived, imagined, and textual spaces. In so doing, it asks the following questions: what does it mean for a poet to occupy a certain kind of space? How can the literary work be read as generative or representative of such a site? What does the rendering of such spaces reveal about the topology of the female American avant-garde?

The physical writing site is both highly specific to each poet and reveals broader collective investments in inhabiting gendered space. My site-based research responds to the lacunae of the women's literary tradition by rematerializing the quotidian space of female poetic experience. In mapping these sites, I formulate new versions of what Julia Kristeva calls 'l'écriture féminine'; the poetics of site works to articulate the singularities of individual authors whilst simultaneously formulating a new community of female poets. I argue that to challenge the hegemony of male-dominated poetic research cultures, we must find new ways to read women against the American grain. The Poetics of Site offers up one such feminist methodology, building a refuge for exploring the experimental female poet on her own terms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Herd, David
Uncontrolled keywords: English Literature, Poetry, Feminism, American Literature, Experimental Avant-garde, Space, Women
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 15:10 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 04:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/67055 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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