Becoming Ocean: theories towards a marine lyric

Hymas, SE
(2019) Becoming Ocean: theories towards a marine lyric. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis speculates on how the intimacy of the lyric can incorporate the vastness of ocean. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, steering between poetry, philosophy and marine science. Section one is a eco-critical exploration, where a phenomenological posthumanist lens inspired by the philosophers Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze is used to read marine-sited poems of Jorie Graham, chiefly from Never (2002), Sea Change (2008) and Fast (2017). Working through perspectival approaches of what is seen, blurred and unseen, the three chapters of this section consider Graham’s poetic handling of the shoreline, the marine ecosystem and offshore waters to devise a framework for what I term a ‘marine lyric’. In chapter one, I consider the embodied, protean dynamic between human and ocean, working through the phenomenology of perception to experience the marine lyric as an emergent imaginative force of poet and shore. In this conception the white space of the marine lyric has as much a role to play in embodying imagination as its language. The second chapter introduces the Deleuzian concept of ‘the fold’ to decentralise a humanist perspective and illustrate how multiple subjectivities can unfold across a marine lyric. This poetic immanence is explained through a myopic blurring of certainty; I show how the marine lyric uses a disruption of syntax to communicate the ongoing uncertainty that is ocean. The final chapter enfolds the marine lyric’s mode of phenomenological posthumanism to speculate on its role in mediating unseen futures and offshore pollution to promote a sense of wonder and applied affirmation. The marine lyric seeks a response-ability for an alternative perspective which promotes endurance over endings and a potential for experiencing transformation as inevitable and continuous. Section two is an original portfolio of poetry and fragmented prose written in tandem with the critical thesis. It plots a course from the Irish Sea to Arctic Ocean, seeking possible new ecological niches for its human protagonists in a time of marine and climate catastrophe. The application of the fold is made explicit within the structure of the portfolio, enveloping global currents to convey the various narratives, poetic sequences and clusters as interwoven processes of intra-subjective enrichment. The creative portfolio demonstrates a new methodological approach arising from the entanglement of philosophical theories with a hands-on creative practice that included the making of artistbooks, writing on the shore and at sea, and a fieldtrip to the Arctic.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Fac of Humanities & Social Sci > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 16:49
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 10:00
DOI: 10.17638/03059739