Mapping the edge : a practice-led exploration of the poetics of the northern coastline

Harrison, Hazel Lesley

August 2018

Thesis or dissertation

© 2018 Hazel Lesley Harrison. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis challenges the idea of writing a non-inflected poetry of place. I explore language as a form of cartographic gesture which is analogous to the construction of place through language in the process of making poetry. I explore the selectivity and subjectivity of the originating voice, and discuss how the poem-map might be understood to have a form of objectivity as a record of the human process of place-making.

Language bridges the gap between private and public space. I draw on anthropological and ethnographic thinking to interpret the renewal of meaning as an embodied, grounded process through which self and place are co-constructed. This process is particularly apparent in poetry’s concentrated, experimental manipulation of meaning and form. I liken poetic form to the cartographic act of framing, in which, even while employing strategies to submerge their own affect, the originator is fundamentally implicated in the provocational strategy of their work.

This enquiry is deeply contextualised, and deeply practice-led. The northern coastline is understood as an unstable and hybrid zone which is being constantly re-embodied and remade, and so is essentially beyond the reach of the cartographic coloniser. The collection Summer Ferry demonstrates my own ongoing rethinking of and retreat from the imposition of final meaning onto the coastal landscape.

School of English, The University of Hull
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