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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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Oral tradition, activist journalism and the legacy of "Red power: indigenous cosmopolitics in American Indian poetry

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This dissertation explores how American Indian literature and the legacy of the Red Power movement are linked in the literary representations of what I call "Indigenous Cosmopolitics." This occurs by way of oral tradition's role in the movement's Pan-Indigenous consciousness

This dissertation explores how American Indian literature and the legacy of the Red Power movement are linked in the literary representations of what I call "Indigenous Cosmopolitics." This occurs by way of oral tradition's role in the movement's Pan-Indigenous consciousness and rhetoric. By appealing to communal values and ideals such as solidarity and resistance, homeland, and land-based sovereignty, Red Power activist-writers of 1960s and 1970s mobilized oral tradition to challenge the US-Indigenous colonial relationship, speak for Native communities, and decolonize Native consciousness. The introductory chapter points to Pan-Indigenous practices that constructed a positive identity for the alienated and disempowered experience of Native Americans since Relocation. Chapter one examines the Red Power newspapers and newsletters ABC: Americans Before Columbus, The Warpath, and Alcatraz Newsletter among others. These periodicals served as venues for many Natives to publish their poems in collaborating with the politics of the Red Power movement. Among the poems considered is Miguel Hernandez's "ALCATRAZ," which supports the Native resistance and journey towards sovereignty during the Island's occupation. Chapters two and three explore the use of oral tradition in the journalism of Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), who was then working within the collaborative contexts of the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) and ABC: Americans Before Columbus, which represents the Indigenous cosmos and appeal to Indigenous peoples' cosmopolitical alliance and resistance throughout the hemisphere and across the world. The final chapter turns to the work of two poets, Joy Harjo (Muskogee Creek), Wendy Rose (Hopi/Miwok), and a singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree), showing their appropriation of storytelling modes and topics from within the inclusive functions of oral tradition - storyweaving, employing persona, and performing folk music. Harjo, Rose and Sainte-Marie push on the boundaries of the movement's rhetoric as they promote solidarity between colonized women in and beyond the US. The Red Power movement's cosmopolitics remains persistent and influential in Native nationalism, which stands as the master expression of the decolonizing process. The flexibility of oral tradition operates as a common ground for reciprocal, transformational, and inclusive interactions between tribal
ational identity and Pan-Indigenous identity, developing Native nationhood's interactions with the world.

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2014