Conferences or Meetings Attended Where a Paper Was Given
' "So This Becomes You": Deryn Rees-Jones’ Deployment of the Clone Poem in her Poetics and Quiver'. The British and Irish Poetry Conference: The Line of Contemporary Poetry. St Anne's College, Oxford. (22nd -24th September 2006).
This paper explores Deryn Rees-Jones’ use of the clone-poem in her novel-in-verse, Quiver. Using Estelle Irizarry’s definition, I explore the history of the clone-poem and I differentiate the technique of ‘cloning’ from parody and pastiche. I briefly explore Irizarry’s examples of Federico García Lorca’s and the Nicaraguan poet, Ernesto Cardenal and I explore the new terms that were invented to describe their strategies: such as ‘téchnica de sustituciones alucinantes’ (the technique of hallucinating substitutions) and ‘arte de injerto’ (the art of graft). Rees-Jones has adopted similar methods to the Spanish-language poets discussed. Focussing on her essay, ‘Nothing That is Not There and Nothing That Is’, I explore her demand for there to be an echo of voices in poetry. I examine Rees-Jones reference to her poem, ‘Song for Winter’, in which she tries to capture the rhythms of Rilke’s first ode, in order to comment about the poet’s fragmented selfhood.Quiver is the culmination of Rees-Jones’ poetics as it privileges the clone-trope. The first example to be examined is ‘A Dream’ which clones S.T. Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. I discuss how Rees-Jones’ protagonist is haunted by the clone just as the Mariner is preoccupied by the albatross. Using R.L. Brett’s interpretation of the mariner as poet and albatross as inspiration, I examine how in cloning this poem, Rees-Jones signals that such doubling can be a means to find inspiration. I also discuss ‘Clone’ which doubles Paul Muldoon’s ‘As’. Rees-Jones corrupts Muldoon’s riddling original and its specific references to history, linguistics, Scotland and macho culture. Rees-Jones retains the riddling tone but transplants the references with the image of the clone. Consequently, ‘Clone’ becomes a declaration of the spirit of her collection and her postmodern poetics.
- 'Strangers to Themselves: The Woman Poet in Wales in the 21st Century'. Women Poets in the 21st Century: Kicking Daffodils III. University of the West of England, Bristol. (6th - 7th September 2006)
This paper uses a Kristevan model to explore the poetics of women poets in Wales and the choice to move away from the privileging of traditional Welsh landscapes, cultural mores and literary tropes. The three writers to be discussed are Gwyneth Lewis, Pascale Petit and Deryn Rees-Jones, all of whom have an interest in creating a dialogue with landscapes, mythologies and tropes beyond or adjacent to their own culture. My model derives from Julia Kristeva's Strangers to Ourselves, in which she explores notions of the 'foreigner', 'foreignness' and the stranger within us. To Kristeva, it is important to recognise and empathise with the 'foreigner' or the 'stranger'. When one realises that we are all strangers, the quality of 'strangeness', which causes fear, hatred and loathing, can be eliminated. As Kristeva states, 'The foreigner is within me, hence we are all foreigners'. Through discovering the stranger in themselves, these Welsh women poets can write politically about difference. The body of this paper explores the three poets in detail. First I compare three extracts from their statements of poetics and then I give a detailed analysis of a short poem from each poet. In 'Dissociation', Lewis explores how losing the Welsh-language and denying her Welsh self invokes a new identity – the archetypal mad woman artist. In comparison, I study how Petit projects her own poetic concerns into the biographical telling of the life of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo ('Henry Ford Hospital'). Finally, I juxtapose these with Rees-Jones' poet-heroine of 'Cemetery' , who projects herself into the persona of the English Victorian poetess. I argue that these writers search for the strangers to themselves and in doing so, they create a poetics in which, as Kristeva states, 'every difference is significant'.
'Blogs for Educational and Research Purposes'. Blog Symposium. University of Warwick. (21st July 2006).
I discuss in this short paper my own development of blogging as a tool of educational and research value. I summarise my initial uses of blogs, my attitude to audience and my development of a research and a teaching blog. Using detailed examples I describe how these new technologies can help in one's development.
- ' "Every Difference is Significant": A New Feminist Poetics between Didacticism and Essentialism'. Poetry and Politics. University of Stirling. (13th - 16th July 2006).
The purpose of this paper is to explore the feminist politics at work in late twentieth century poetry and to discover if a new twenty-first century poetics can emerge from the political machinations of warring factions. With criticism by Showalter and Segal as my basis, I embark on an analysis of feminism’s increasingly separate projects: gynocritics or difference feminism and feminist critique or equality feminism. I focus first on gynocritics citing Hélène Cixous and Michéle Roberts and the prime example is the poet, Medbh McGuckian. A close analysis of McGuckian’s poems, ‘From the Weather Woman’ and ‘Killing the Muse’, is conducted in relation to difference feminism’s claims for a female language and the drawbacks of such essentialism. In relation to feminist critique, I argue for the importance of conveying a political message. Here I use the example of Carol Ann Duffy with analysis of ‘Girl Talking’ and ‘Mrs Darwin’ as polemical texts. The poems are analysed in relation to their political efficacy, didacticism and the problem of portraying a vulnerable subject. Finally, I argue that although the feminist projects outlined here are admirable, there is a need for a new movement. The demands of some feminist politics can create a restrictive poetics, yet not all feminisms conform to this type. Julia Kristeva’s suggestion that semiotic or poetic language can be revolutionary is a useful feminist dictum and not least because Kristeva writes that ‘every difference is significant’ signalling that feminist poetry’s horizons need to broaden and develop rather than isolating women’s poetry in a category of its own.
- 'The Uncanny City of Liverpool: Haunting Absences in Deryn Rees-Jones' Quiver'. Global Cities. Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool (29th-30th June 2006).
The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the treatment of the city of Liverpool in Quiver, a novel-in-verse by the Welsh writer, Deryn Rees-Jones. Drawing on key psychoanalytical texts by Ernst Jentsch and Sigmund Freud, I outline the features of the uncanny, before turning to the theory of Anthony Vidler’s The Architectural Uncanny. With these texts as my foundation, I construct an analysis of Rees Jones’ Liverpool emphasising its portrayal in terms of what Vidler calls ‘haunting absences’. These haunting absences include the uncanny omission of origins for Rees Jones’ Liverpudlian metropolitans and the lack inherent in post-industrial spaces. I interrogate Rees-Jones’ fascination with Liverpool’s immigrant communities from Wales, Ireland and China and the haunting absences of Liverpool’s history. I analyse the spectres of poverty-stricken children, refugees and African slaves that stalk the narrative. The interaction between the real and spectral occupants of Liverpool creates an uncanny effect as it seems unclear as to whether a particular subject is real, imagined or a ghost. I conclude that Rees-Jones’ setting is a haven for marginals who exist here in a limbo of diaspora.
'The Flesh of Spectators: the Self-Conscious Flâneuse in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Rhys’ Good Morning Midnight'. Woolfian Boundaries. University of Birmingham (22nd - 25th June 2006).
The purpose of this paper is to explore R.D. Laing’s portryal of the self-conscious subject in relation to the heroines of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Jean Rhys’ Good Morning Midnight. I begin by commenting on the interior realism that has dominated many women novelists in the twentieth century and the backlash against the Angel in the House or feminine perfection. I briefly survey Laing’s definition of self-consciousness and consequently proceed to analysis of the key texts. The perambulatory heroines of Mrs Dalloway and Sasha are tied by a number of key elements that refer to Laing’s self-consciousness: the expectation of a critical gaze, self-interrogation, confusion about the value or legitimacy of one’s own being and fear of the penetration of one’s identity. I compare the different versions of self-consciousness in Woolf and Rhys and I explore why Mrs Dalloway escapes self-consciousness but Sasha does not. Finally, I address the irony of the characters’ creation as objects for consumption and I argue that the abject presentation of these women is subversive and useful for feminist questioning of what it is to be a woman.
- 'Being Frida Kahlo: (Auto)Biography in Pascale Petit's The Wounded Deer'. Arts Faculty Seminar, University of Warwick. (22nd May 2006).
- 'Estranging the Self: Exile, Strangeness and Pascale Petit's The Zoo Father'. Postgraduate Symposium. University of Warwick. (11th May 2006).
- ‘Clone Identity in Deryn Rees-Jones’ Quiver: Emancipatory or Oppressive?’, Gender, Generation, Geneaology, University of Hull.
- 'Deryn Rees-Jones' Quiver', Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Symposium, University of Warwick.
Conferences Attended Where a Paper Was Not Given
2005 - 2006
- Writing The Other America: Comparative Approaches to Caribbean and Latin American Literature. University of Warwick. (25th February 2006).
2004 - 2005
- Fuse Writers' Conference, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.
- Dialogue and Tradition, University of Warwick.
- Poetry and Belief, University of Warwick. (25th February 2005).
- English and Comparative Literary Studies Postgraduate Symposium, University of Warwick.