On composition : five studies in the philosophy of writing

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2010
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The thesis is a study of the concept and practice of composition in poetry, conducted in two stages: a dissertation and a collection of poems. The dissertation focusses initially on asking the question: what are the compositional means at the heart of the process of poiesis? Answers to this question are proposed as follows: (1) that meaningfulness is a cognitively rich act, centred on language, and drawn from an embodied, phenomenological awareness of experience in time. Poetics is at the centre of any adequate theorization of meaning. (2) That metaphor is central to the poetics of language and writing, but that we must be clear about the inherently strong connections between metaphor as a modally based, conceptualizing practice and as a stylistic practice. (3) That writing introduces an inevitable, and necessary, gap between thought and written composition, a gap which is at the heart of poetic effect. And finally, (4) that deeply structured features to do with the disassemblage of the work as well as it assemblage are key in the construction of poems. Without this interplay between assemblage and disassemblage, concept and sensation are subsumed in each other, language reverts to being a merely representationalist medium and the constructive, human, never fully concluded energy of poetic meaning is weakened. In its later part, the thesis offers a series of associated writing practices in two sequences of poems, Music and a selection from Ode on Tuesday and Other Poems. The thesis is proposed as a contribution to our understanding of contemporary poetics, both in terms of writing practice and in terms of the philosophy of language.
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