Abstract/Details

Saying “I am” experimentalism and subjectivity in contemporary poetry by Claudia Rankine, M. Nourbese Philip, and Myung Mi Kim


2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation enters the conversation about what experimentalism has to do with poets of color while paying particular attention to the ways in which three women writing now—Myung Mi Kim, Claudia Rankine, and Marlene Nourbese Philip (the latter poet publishes under the name “M. Nourbese Philip)—deal with the complicated matter of contemporary selfhood. In all of their works, one of the central questions of poetic inquiry, “Who is speaking?” turns out to be a rather inappropriate question that forces traditional readings on these non-traditional texts, thus producing meanings that have more to do with poetic convention than the texts at hand. Instead, this project approaches these writers' texts asking, what kind of reading do these texts invite, as well as resist? Indeed, what kind of contemporary poetics do they create?

This dissertation looks at how contemporary experimental poetry of racial mourning locates its grief not in racial experience itself, but in what produces identity-based experience in the first place. It contends that racial identity creates melancholia precisely because it is, paradoxically, a social construction that feels natural to us. Poets Kim, Philip, and Rankine use formal and linguistic innovation—including fragmentation, stammers, brackets, blank spaces, made-up words, lists, and pictograms—to re-imagine identity as inauthentic and unstable, while acknowledging the desire for a sense of one's self that's more whole, more sayable, more recognizable. This dissertation contextualizes their experimental work by charting a kinship between them, early elegiac poetries of racial mourning, and other contemporary poetry from Frederick Douglass to Major Jackson.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Modern literature;
Philosophy;
American literature
Classification
0298: Modern literature
0422: Philosophy
0591: American literature
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; Language, literature and linguistics; American; Contemporary; Experimental; Gender; Kim, Myung Mi; Philip, Marlene Nourbese; Poetry; Race; Rankine, Claudia
Title
Saying “I am” experimentalism and subjectivity in contemporary poetry by Claudia Rankine, M. Nourbese Philip, and Myung Mi Kim
Author
Martin, Dawn Lundy
Number of pages
156
Publication year
2009
Degree date
2009
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9781109500615
Advisor
Doyle, Laura
Committee member
Gore, Dayo; Skerrett, Joseph
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department
English
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3379988
ProQuest document ID
304921620
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304921620
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