"Encounter before imagination": a more-than-human poetics from the Moss Valley

JEFFREY, Andrew (2019). "Encounter before imagination": a more-than-human poetics from the Moss Valley. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00340


This hybrid creative/critical work of poetry and prose is laid out in three columns so that open form poetry, literary criticism and theoretical reflection can share the same page space. This enables the writing to embody tensions and entanglements in response to the following research questions: 1. How can avant-garde and experimental writing techniques be used to encounter the more-than-human? 2. Can experimental writing techniques enable a writer to point beyond language? 3. Does an open form poem enable writing about the more-than-human to be more ecologically minded? 4. What boundaries are crossed when trying to write about the more-than-human? The work argues for the importance of writing from a particular place or site as a way of exploring contemporary environmental issues by being based upon fieldwork in the Moss Valley, which is located on the border between South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The poems are based upon particular encounters; criticism and theoretical reflections act as a poetics, enabling further thinking, research and contextualisation. It shows that avant-garde and experimental writing techniques can be used to encounter the morethan-human using the concept of chora to explore how writing can point beyond language, crossing disciplinary and cultural boundaries. Open form poems enable a more ecologically-aware approach to the more-than-human, situating the writer as part of a dynamic system. Chapter 1 explores characterisations of the Moss Valley as an edgeland. Chapter 2 engages with the Moss ValAbstract ley’s ancient woodlands whilst tracking various creatures. Chapter 3 is based at Troway Hall which is the home of a longstanding beekeeping concern. Chapter 4 considers the writer’s phobia of and encounters with horses to explore issues of classification and projection. Chapter 5 records an attempt to trace the Moss Brook from source to confluence. Chapter 6 is based upon mushroom recording walks in the Moss Valley and tries to write from the perspective of fungi. The writers Colin Simms, Maggie O’Sullivan and Helen Macdonald are considered as poets who model ways of entangling human and natural history when writing about the more-than-human. Rachel Blau DuPlessis long poem Drafts gives a model of hybrid writing

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Tarlo, Harriet [0000-0002-6626-8099]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Harriet Tarlo
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00340
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2021 17:00
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:01
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28089

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