A poetics of subjective resistance

Frances, JB 2020, A poetics of subjective resistance , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis is a work of poetics, which speculatively casts into the future of possible writing, to ask how contemporary innovative poetry can enact or contribute towards political resistance. More specifically, it asks how poetry that finds its conditions materially and ideologically oppressive might imagine alternative realities through the language of those conditions, and contribute to their realisation. The stakes and difficulties of resistance are established through an Althusserian account of ideology as universal and subject-forming. The question of poetic resistance is not how poetry can directly alter material conditions, but how poetry contribute to falteringly shifting those conditions by critiquing and re-forming the ideological premises for action and relation. This takes the form first of a theoretical account of this problem and prospective solutions, integrating preceding radical poetics with a range of theoretical positions. This lays the groundwork for close engagements with works by four contemporary poets: Sean Bonney (1969-2019), Lisa Robertson (b. 1961), Bhanu Kapil (b. 1968) and Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009). This thesis contends that previous innovative poetics, while heavily invested in resistance, have focussed on poetry’s ability to destabilise conceptual and linguistic frameworks, leaving under-discussed the possibility of gesturing towards new possible frameworks, relations and subjectivities. It instead builds a tentatively propositional poetics, which takes the subject as a primary site of struggle. Resistive potential and instability in the cycle of ideological reproduction is found in divergent, not-yet-intelligible affective experiences, pains and desires. A poetry whose forms disrupt conventional, ideologically-formed limits of coherence might, I suggest, best gesture to, evoke or constitute these affective resistive potentials. This poetry posits and attempts forms of communication and affective recognition that are not based on realist expression, but nonetheless build solidarities across experiences rendered outside comprehension, between subjects who do not wish to be comprehended.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Thurston, SD (Supervisor) and Duffy, N (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 13:44
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 07:25
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/59032

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