Making Poetry: An Anatomy of Troublemaking

Brusaschi, Kylie (2017) Making Poetry: An Anatomy of Troublemaking. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This research grows from an in-practice need to further understand how poetry functions to disrupt and trouble normative language use. The innovative or experimental poet, as I contend, handles language not as ready-made and static but as material and multidimensional. The results of this handling of language can lead a reader to become confused, confronted and potentially transformed, thus challenging notions of reading and understanding. In this PhD by creative component I address critically and creatively the question of how poetry troubles, disrupts and transforms our experience of language. I inquire into the kinds of methods and processes which give rise to linguistic sites which excite, frustrate and challenge a reader, while also considering what this might mean for both a reader and the process of reading itself. I contend that the role of poet is to ‘trouble’ language and bring to the fore the plastic aspects, such as sound and visual effects, which in turn challenge a reader's relationship to notions such as sense, clarity and meaning. I demonstrate my argument through two components, a poetry collection entitled in chant & in counting, which is weighed at 55%, and an exegesis at 45%. In the poetry collection I experiment with methods such as violence, play and silence and aim to create poems which make problematic normative grammar and syntax as well as generating poems which push a reader off centre. The exegesis seeks to elucidate the poet as troublemaker, by building an ‘anatomy of troublemaking’ which examines what kinds of outcomes are produced by such troublemaking devices. By interweaving my own poems and in-practice observations into the exegesis I demonstrate in clear terms the importance of a line of questioning that resides within one’s own writing practice. Together, the creative and theoretical components form a dialogue between troubled and untroubled language which demonstrates in concrete terms the importance of both. My original contribution to knowledge is the development of an ‘anatomy of troublemaking’ which furthers understanding of what happens to language upon entry into the poem.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > FOR Classification > 2004 Linguistics
Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords Kylie Brusaschi, linguistics, transformation of language, disruption of language, modernist poets, post-modernist poets, Gertrude Stein, E. E. Cummings, Anne-Marie Albiach, Samuel Beckett, Helmet Heissenbüttel, Hugo Ball, Kurt Schwitters
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