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Representations of women in the poetry of Thomas Kinsella

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This dissertation addresses the representation of women in the poetry of the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella. Using a variety of theoretical approaches, including historical criticism, French feminist theory and Jungian psychoanalytical theory, I argue that although women are an integral

This dissertation addresses the representation of women in the poetry of the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella. Using a variety of theoretical approaches, including historical criticism, French feminist theory and Jungian psychoanalytical theory, I argue that although women are an integral part of Kinsella's ongoing aesthetic project of self-interrogation, their role in his poetry is deeply problematic from a feminist perspective. For purposes of my discussion I have divided my analysis into three categories of female representation: the realistically based figure of the poet's wife Eleanor, often referred to as the Beloved; female archetypes and anima as formulated by the psychologist C.G. Jung; and the poetic trope of the feminized Muse. My contention is that while the underlying effect of the early love and marriage poems is to constrain the female subject by reinforcing stereotypical gender positions, Kinsella's aesthetic representation of this relationship undergoes a transformation as his poetry matures. With regard to Kinsella's mid-career work from the 1970s and the 1980s I argue that the poet's aesthetic integration of Jungian archetypes into his poetry of psychic exploration fundamentally influences his representation of women, whether real or archetypal. These works represent a substantial advance in the complexity of Kinsella's poetry; however, the imaginative power of these poems is ultimately undermined by the very ideas that inspire them - Jungian archetypal thought - since women are represented exclusively as facilitators and symbols on this male-centered journey of self-discovery. Further complicating the gender dynamics in Kinsella's poetry is the presence of the female Muse. This figure, which becomes of increasing importance to the poet, transforms from an aestheticized image of the Beloved, to a sinister snake-like apparition, and finally into a disembodied voice that is a projection of the poet and his alter-ego. Ultimately, Kinsella's Muse is an aesthetic construction, the site of inquiry into the difficulties inherent in the creative process, and a metaphor for the creative process itself. Through his innovative deployment of the trope of the Muse, Kinsella continues to advance the aesthetics of contemporary Irish poetry.

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2013

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Fledglings of Anani

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The Fledglings of Anani is a universe with an underlying organizing principle of desire, auspiciousness and serendipity, the veiled doors and windows of these realms serve as fugues bridging layers of time leading us through myth and landscape intimately tied

The Fledglings of Anani is a universe with an underlying organizing principle of desire, auspiciousness and serendipity, the veiled doors and windows of these realms serve as fugues bridging layers of time leading us through myth and landscape intimately tied to the physical intelligence of earth and character of place. It is a voice that comes to know itself first as being, then in correspondence to nature and her elements, enters into the rhythm of human connection and ultimately circles back to comprehend itself as all these things, varying only in degree. The poems travel further and further toward an allusive center with a contemplative inner eye that embraces the complexity and vitality of life.

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2012

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Atom City

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A collection of poems that explore what it means to be from the Atomic City-- a city built atop cleared-out rural communities in East Tennessee during World War II, and with the sole and secretive purpose of enriching uranium for

A collection of poems that explore what it means to be from the Atomic City-- a city built atop cleared-out rural communities in East Tennessee during World War II, and with the sole and secretive purpose of enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. The poems look back to the more isolated Appalachian culture of previous generations, discovering the identity rifts caused by such massive and rushed development. In trying to understand the poet's own cultural inheritance of both nuclear weaponry and an Appalachian hardness, the poems begin to meditate on inhabitation. They ask what it means to live in a country, a local community, a body. The poems travel far beyond the Atomic City's limits, incorporating characters that live, in some sense, at the edge of a community. As he crosses the Atlantic, the Spanish poet Jiménez wonders if either sound or vision are more trustworthy tools for perception; an aging grandmother in Tennessee realizes that she still "drives" her younger body in her dreams; an American woman becomes aroused after touring the killing fields in Cambodia; and the prophet of Oak Ridge, who supposedly predicted the Manhattan Project, considers how his baby daughter has become a thing after death. The various voices show the poet grappling with her own guilt over Hiroshima, and ultimately attempt to understand the limits of both grief and love, how one inherits a tragedy.

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2013

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The body snatcher's complaint

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Ranging in subject from a Tuareg festival outside Timbuktu to the 1975 "Battle of the Sexes" race at Belmont track to a Mississippi classroom in the Delta flood plains, the poems in The Body Snatcher's Complaint explore the blurring of

Ranging in subject from a Tuareg festival outside Timbuktu to the 1975 "Battle of the Sexes" race at Belmont track to a Mississippi classroom in the Delta flood plains, the poems in The Body Snatcher's Complaint explore the blurring of self hood, a feeling of foreignness within one's own physical experience of the world, in the most intimate and global contexts.

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2013

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Cuerpo y universo: acercamientos poshumanistas a la materialidad en la poesía de Cristina Peri Rossi y Cecilia Vicuña

Description

Since the Enlightenment, humanist philosophy has understood materiality as an inert and determinate world categorically separate from the sphere of consciousness and language. However, after evolving significantly during the 20th century, the natural sciences now recognize the complexity, indeterminacy and

Since the Enlightenment, humanist philosophy has understood materiality as an inert and determinate world categorically separate from the sphere of consciousness and language. However, after evolving significantly during the 20th century, the natural sciences now recognize the complexity, indeterminacy and agency of matter. A parallel transformation can be observed in contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature and is exemplified in the works of Cristina Peri Rossi and Cecilia Vicuña. Drawing on knowledge which emerges from the natural sciences, the humanities and personal experience, these poets explore multiple dimensions of materiality from the microscopic world of subatomic particles and DNA molecules to the macroscopic world of the body and the structure of the universe. The theoretical orientation of this study emerges from posthumanism, which critiques the epistemological foundations of humanist thought and reconfigures reductionist concepts of matter, discourse, the subject, and agency which are grounded in dualistic ontology. Material feminist theorists explore materiality through interdisciplinary approaches which establish a dialogue between posthumanism, feminist theory and the natural sciences. The material feminist Karen Barad proposes an agential realist ontology which constitutes the principal theoretical framework of this thesis. According to Barad, phenomena are not exclusively social or material but rather material-discursive practices, and the concept of agency is reconfigured as the product of the dynamics of intra-action rather than an as an attribute restricted to the human sphere. Furthermore, this thesis utilizes diverse materials from the areas of literary criticism and scientific research in order to achieve an authentically interdisciplinary interpretation of materiality in the poetry. Peri Rossi and Vicuña express a profound questioning of the fundamental assumptions of humanism and offer perspectives which take into account matter's agency and dynamism. Their poetry presents materiality as a constant process of creation and as an active participant in the unfolding of reality, thereby opening up new horizons of investigation. By interpreting the works of Peri Rossi and Vicuña through the lens of posthumanist theory, this study contributes to a growing body of interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature.

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2013

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Every house

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The poems in Every House find themselves exploring spaces of expected comfort and asking how survivors reconstruct safety in their worlds when the beautiful is burnt to the ground. With little more than memory, maybe a photograph, or the chorus

The poems in Every House find themselves exploring spaces of expected comfort and asking how survivors reconstruct safety in their worlds when the beautiful is burnt to the ground. With little more than memory, maybe a photograph, or the chorus of a song, these poems mean to tell a truth even as perceived dangers make vulnerable the mind and body.

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2014

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Traduttori traditori: the tasks of the creative "traitor" and the problematic of translation (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, José Martí, and Octavio Paz)

Description

Every act of communication, and therefore, reading, are in themselves acts of translation and interpretation, as the reader creates a mental representation or reconstruction of the text, extrapolating meaning from it. Interlinguistic translation adds another dimension to these hermeneutic processes,

Every act of communication, and therefore, reading, are in themselves acts of translation and interpretation, as the reader creates a mental representation or reconstruction of the text, extrapolating meaning from it. Interlinguistic translation adds another dimension to these hermeneutic processes, and in the movement through space and time, constant re-interpretation, new translations, and, often, modern theories and perspectives, can interfere with or bring clarity to the meaning of the original text, as well as add to the myth-creation of the writers themselves.

This study centers on some of the great literary figures in poetic and essayistic production in the world of Spanish-speaking letters: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, José Martí, and Octavio Paz. These figures represent not only important literary movements going from the baroque to modernismo, to the vanguardia and to the creation of the self-conscious “modern” poet, but also are among the most well known Spanish-language writers in the English-speaking world. They are all self-aware creators, who, in distinct ways, join poetry, critical essays and theory that are at once an extension of and revolve around their personal poetics, projected toward the currents of their respective epochs.

Finding problematic moments in translation theory and practice, and studying them in the context of the analysis of these great literary figures, at the same time contributes to a new understanding of translation theory itself. These ‘case studies’ expose certain key moments of existing translations, moments that later contribute to critical and interpretive dialogue in a type of hermeneutic spiral of influence. They also show the importance of translation as a contribution to cultural changes and literary movements. This ultimately aids in the understanding of the important points of contact between the many worlds occupied by these great writers and the ways in which they, and in turn, their translators, recreate the contexts in which they were produced.

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2016

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Souvenirs of sleep

Description

Chris Miller's Souvenirs of Sleep is as serious as it is whimsical, if this is a possibility. The "Museum of the Zoo-real" may be an equally appropriate title as animals are often in performance. In this visual and spiritual investigation,

Chris Miller's Souvenirs of Sleep is as serious as it is whimsical, if this is a possibility. The "Museum of the Zoo-real" may be an equally appropriate title as animals are often in performance. In this visual and spiritual investigation, childhood, dream, and the loss of a mother to suicide are the currents. Miller's work is informed by the cinema of Werner Herzog, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Bresson and beyond. Miller believes in the power of implication. The poems begin with intense focus, but are often in the business of expansion. Souvenirs of Sleep is a journey toward sense-making, a search for language that might allow it.

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2013

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I am the woman with the black black skin: mapping intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance women's poetry

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Mapping Intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance Women's Poetry comprises the first book-length study devoted to examining the role women's poetry played in the Harlem Renaissance, an artistic and sociopolitical movement that reached its zenith in the 1920s. This study is situated

Mapping Intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance Women's Poetry comprises the first book-length study devoted to examining the role women's poetry played in the Harlem Renaissance, an artistic and sociopolitical movement that reached its zenith in the 1920s. This study is situated in a theoretical interdisciplinarity that complicates critical approaches to Black women's subjectivities with respect to resistance and representation. It combines literary, race and gender theory to perform close readings of New Negro Women's poetry. Central chapters of the text theorize the poets' overshadowed engagement with the political movement via the tropes of interiority, motherhood, and sexuality; a closing chapter puts New Negro women's poetry in conversation with the Black Arts Movement. Building on the feminist sociological framework of Intersectionality, which considers the lived experience of individuals who embody multiple layers of marginalization, this dissertation works to identify and unpack sources of racialized gendered disparity in Harlem Renaissance studies. In acknowledging that self–actualization and self–articulation are central to this identity–based movement — a presupposition that informs this study's thesis — it becomes necessary to consider the gendered aspects of the writing for a more comprehensive review of the period. The analytical framework of Intersectionality provides a means to acknowledge New Negro women poets' perspectives regarding their racialized and gendered selves. In essence, Mapping Intersectionality is a concentrated effort toward unearthing evidence of their significant push against race and gender oppression. The motivation driving this study is revision and reclamation: revisionist in its concern for redefining the parameters in which the movement is traditionally perceived; a reclamation in its objective to underscore the influential, but nearly forgotten voices of the women poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

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2013

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Water seeks its own level

Description

This creative thesis is a work of narrative and lyric poetry. Death and Nature are two complex themes that emerge frequently in the poems and work as well across the breadth of the manuscript. The speakers' perspectives vary and are

This creative thesis is a work of narrative and lyric poetry. Death and Nature are two complex themes that emerge frequently in the poems and work as well across the breadth of the manuscript. The speakers' perspectives vary and are indebted to two sub-genres of poetry, namely--The Poetry of Witness, and Ekphrastic Poetry. Their psycho-analytic underpinnings are at times indisputable, and at other times, purely subjective. Many poems address political and human rights issues in the Middle East, and in the rest of the world. It is here that the poems depend and reveal flexibility with diction and varying structures. Overall, the poems reflect and investigate possible restraints and choices, both internally by the details and images, and externally by multiple experiments with free verse forms.

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2012