Inky Creatures A Portfolio of Poems with a Critical Commentary
thesisposted on 29.01.2019, 15:56 by Geraldine Bell
This doctorate is a complementary marriage of creative and critical projects. The creative component is a portfolio of poems which manifest my research interests: illustration and animal poetry, along with subjects of interest such as mental health and historical events. As a practice-led researcher I illustrated some of my poems in response to my investigation. The portfolio demonstrates my developing use of form and metre, particularly repetitive forms. The critical component expands analytically on my twin focuses of illustration in relation to poetry, and the role of viewing in animal poems. I have incorporated three standalone essays into my reflective commentary that each expand on a previously unexplored area of academic study. The first concerns poets who have illustrated their own work for an adult readership in the first edition, namely, Thomas Hardy, Günter Grass and Stevie Smith. The second expands on my research into Stevie Smith’s work by closely analysing the recurring theme of drowning through her poems and drawings. The third examines the role of observing in the composition of animal poetry and considers the interaction between John Berger’s notion of looking at animals and Philip Larkin’s ‘impulse to preserve’ (‘The Art of Poetry No. 30’, Paris Review). I combine analysis of poems from the last seventy-five years with close reading and reflection of my own animal poetry. Each of these essays constitutes a new branch of specific research in a larger field. My creative practice, exhibited in my poetry portfolio, shows my use of lesser-known forms and metres, my use of repetitive form, and my employment of illustration as a co-creator of meaning with the poems. The project as a whole demonstrates the reciprocal relationship between the creative and critical in practice-led research.