'Thinking (in) verse': poetic thought as dialectics in rap and contemporary American poetry
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:39 by Jeremy Page
What does it mean to think poetically? Is thinking something we do separate from artistic creation, or through artistic creation? By drawing together disparate threads in continental philosophy, contemporary American poetry, hip-hop music, and the recent field of cognitive poetics, the thesis argues for an understanding of poetic thought that suggests a (re)introduction of dialectics into the field of poetics. Submitted as a thesis by publication and comprised of a series of integrated articles, three of which have been published during the candidature (with two currently under review), the work is broken into five discrete sections, each examining different forms of dialectics in a broad scope of contemporary poets and artists. Through its consciously interdisciplinary approach, the research presented entails, firstly, a reexamination of Heidegger's phenomenology in Being and Time (1927) in reference to the poetry of Frank O'Hara. The second article outlines the creation of a novel system for musical analysis (what the author calls 'flowprints') in rap. The third article moves to a defence of the ability of certain poetries (such as that of Sharon Olds) to have real world benefits to readers through the promotion of empathy. In the fourth section, the author examines the work of Charles Simic, arguing it should be understood as a poetics of atten(s)ion : an attention to objects in-the-world that enacts the tensions in a phenomenological apprehension of world. Finally, through a consideration of the autobiographical poetry of Charles Bukowski alongside contemporary debates on selfhood, it is argued that poetic thought is able not only to construct biography, but identity. The thesis ultimately argues that poetic thought is best understood as functioning through ontological, rhythmic, emotional, political, and intersubjective tension. Poetic thought is here conceived as the most human(e) way of thinking, not only because it underscores a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human, but because it promotes and encourages a creative embrace of that nature toward creative ends.