Part 1, The balance of where we are : a theory of poetic composition in relation to cognitive poetics ; Part 2, The secret uncles : poems
Part 1 of the thesis, ‘The Balance of Where We Are: A Theory of Composition in Relation to Cognitive Poetics’, considers a compositional theory of poetry, with particular attention to the creative process, the poetic line, and trope. Drawing on from the disciplines of creative writing and cognitive poetics, this thesis asserts basic and important considerations for writing poetry. Chapter One seeks a model for the creative process that will aid in sustaining poetic composition but without dictating a specific method of writing. In presenting several theories of creativity it discusses ways of understanding these mental processes in preparation for the actual poem. It suggests an approach to poetry that will keep the writer focussed and aware of his or her limitations. Chapter Two establishes what it means to be writing poetry in an ‘age of cognitive science’ where some literary scholars have made a ‘cognitive turn’, by explaining the field of cognitive poetics. It considers specifically the cognitive poetics of Reuven Tsur as an important theory to enhance poetic composition. It connects some of Tsur’s discussions on poetic elements to enhance the craft-oriented approach to poetry. Chapter Three examines the poetic line as the basic unit of a poem which any compositional theory must consider. It reiterates the neural theory of the line as a ‘carrier wave’ of conceptual information that is both pleasing to the ear and the mind. It then re- evaluates specific poetic experiments concerning the line, and suggests a method of scanning to help the contemporary reader’s awareness of poetic rhythms. Chapter Four examines trope, specifically poetic metaphor in relation to the assumption of conceptual metaphor theory that poetic metaphors are extensions of everyday metaphors. It welcomes an alternative cognitive-literary explanation by re-iterating metaphor theories from Reuven Tsur and Don Paterson. Finally, it argues that the practitioner is always writing the variation of the ‘one’ poem that he or she has discovered. Part 2 of the thesis, ‘The Secret Uncles: Poems’, consists of my own poems.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2019-05-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 15th May 2019, pending formal approval
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