‘A Continual Song Out of Merely Being Here’: Environment and Interiority in Some Contemporary British Poetry and Natural Phenomena

Pugh, Meryl (2015) ‘A Continual Song Out of Merely Being Here’: Environment and Interiority in Some Contemporary British Poetry and Natural Phenomena. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Rooted in reflective practice, this critical study uses a consideration of environment writing to open up and explore the concept of interiority. It argues, with particular recourse to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concept of the ‘chiasm’, that the human individual experiences a porous reciprocity between her thought, perception and language and that of her social and physical environment, and that this has implications for any written presentation of ‘nature’ – a contested term that is explored via Timothy Morton’s thinking about environmental aesthetics.
The study offers close readings of poems by Michael Haslam and James Schuyler which exemplify a fluid interiority in chiasmic relation with a locale and – drawing from an example of contemporary environment writing – proposes the concept of the feral as a mode of thought which does not so much challenge binarized conceptualizations such as wild/tame, nature/culture (or indeed, interior/exterior) as treat them as irrelevant. It suggests that ferality is particularly suited, therefore, to critical-creative thought.
Drawing upon the work of Paul Valéry, Veronica Forrest-Thomson and Simon Jarvis, this thesis argues that to write poetry is to utilize a way of thinking that is distinct from prose and distinctly feral. Consequently, any avowed poetics will always emerge after the event of writing, and will be an incomplete articulation. Bearing this in mind, the study goes on to reflect upon the accompanying poetry collection’s techniques and the compositional practices developed while writing it in order to discern the impact of the research undertaken.
Natural Phenomena, the creative portion of this PhD thesis, is a collection of poems responding to the sub/urban locale and to the conceptualizations of ‘nature’ and interiority encountered during the course of study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2016 15:17
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 15:17
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58446


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