Joan Metelerkamp : poet of connection

Weyer, Christine Louise (2007-12)

Thesis (MA (English))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


This thesis examines the academically neglected work of contemporary South African poet Joan Metelerkamp. It focuses specifically on the drive towards connection displayed in her poetry. The first chapter explores the embodied subjectivity Metelerkamp’s poetry employs, which insists upon connections between language and the body, the self and the natural world. The second chapter examines the connections between Metelerkamp’s poetry and her literary, mythological, academic, sociological and familial legacies which have shaped her work. The third chapter foregrounds the socio-historic location of her poetry, concentrating on the connection her poetry draws between the political and the personal. All the insights in this thesis are directly initiated by, and accountable to, the poetry. These insights are developed into integrated arguments through recourse to three different but compatible theoretical frameworks: embodiment theory, second wave Anglo-American feminism and contemporary South African literary theory. By exploring the revelatory connections drawn in her poetry, this thesis will argue that Metelerkamp is an important figure in the South African literary arena. Her poetry, sensual, subtly nuanced and ruthlessly honest, traverses uninhabited areas in South African literature and therefore deserves to receive the detailed critical attention which it has thus far been denied.

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