Browsing by Author "Simon, Francine"
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- ItemExperimental explorations of selected women’s innovative poetry written in English, with a focus on ‘the Gurlesque’(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2018-03) Simon, Francine; Murray, Sally-Ann; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores innovative poetry by selected contemporary English-language women writers. In particular, it deliberates how this poetry works between poetic traditions of lyric expressivity and forms of experimentalism. The dissertation comprises both a creative and a critical component: my debut collection Thungachi (see Addendum i), written as part of the doctorate, has already been published by the South African poetry press, uHlanga, in 2017. The scholarly component of the dissertation begins with a section which riffs on the poet Eileen Myles’s term “affidamento”. Searching for examples of local innovative female poetry, and unable to find an obvious local figure of female inspiration and guidance, where does a young South African ‘Indian’ female poet turn when she is writing between the uneasy claims of gendered identity and linguistic-conceptual experimentalism? This section of the study discusses (with different degrees of depth and intensity) my evolving poetic ideas and methods in relation to work by Meena Alexander, Eileen Myles, and Harryette Mullen, three female poets who have enabled me to frame self-reflexive thinking about my poetics. I suggest that their poetry has assisted me in exploring the various possibilities that arise when lyric expressivism is placed under the pressures of raced bodies, queerness and linguistic-conceptual experimentalism. In drawing attention to experimental women's poetry as a marginal form, I propose the concept of ‘non-place’ as a useful provisional term, able to situate and yet repeatedly to re-locate the writing of female experimental poets in their prolific and varied exploration of boundaries such as language and lyric. Here, I also draw on Rosi Braidotti’s “nomadic consciousness” as a useful conceptual node. Central to the dissertation is an extended engagement with an emergent Gurlesque, a poetics first theorised by the North American experimental female poets Arielle Greenberg and Lara Glenum. This section of the study explores some of the theoretical frameworks that Greenberg and Glenum have found useful in thinking through the poetries which they collected in Gurlesque: the New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics. Among these are critical girlhood studies, Riot Grrrl, camp and a female grotesque, all of which offer enlightening optics in respect of young female poets “Gurlesque tendencies”. I speculate about the possibilities of a Gurlesque poetics, considering whether more marginalised femalenesses may also find some kind of conceptual home in the term. Here, I use Ailbhe Darcy’s concept of “alternate sets of cultural referents” (2015: 3) to explore the feasibility of a more inclusive Gurlesque poetics that could be transnational, queer and raced. Overall, using examples of contemporary experimental poetry by a range of women writers, I demonstrate that women’s so-called experimental poetry cannot be restricted to received notions of Language poetry, or an avant-garde, or to refutations of a ‘confessional impulse’ in favour of disembodied abstraction. Instead, the young women poets whose work I engage illustrate the complex inflections of female, feminine, feminist, subversively drawing on a disparate range of processes, styles and indeed subjects to answer the call of what Kathleen Fraser terms “the innovative necessity” (2000).