Positioning poetry: a maverick framework for the curious and bold

DProf thesis

Munden, P. 2014. Positioning poetry: a maverick framework for the curious and bold. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning
TypeDProf thesis
Doctorate by public works thesis
TitlePositioning poetry: a maverick framework for the curious and bold
AuthorsMunden, P.

My focus here is on the mutually beneficial roles of poet and poetry entrepreneur. I explore how my personal development as a poet has interacted with other fields of practice (including science) and running a national writers' organization concerned particularly with education. I demonstrate why "fields of practice" are sometimes considered in too separate a manner, and how poetry can play a role in connecting them, translating from one domain to another. Crucial to this is the way in which poetry informed my own education and emerging identity (as chronicled in Chapter 2). It has led to a subversive spirit that is nevertheless dedicated to the rigours of a demanding craft. In seeking to support new writers in their learning of that craft – and sharing it further themselves – I have held to the idea of writer as maverick, and the importance of any systems reflecting that principle; systems, perhaps, as mavericks in their own right. I explore in detail public works that include a themed anthology (Chapter 3), a solo collection (Chapter 4), a subject benchmark statement and research reports (Chapter 5), but stress the broader range of writing that underpins the whole, including articles, reviews, editorial work and other literary projects. Chapter 6 interleaves all these areas of activity, revealing the creative tensions between them and suggesting how current initiatives – both personal and public – might be refocused. I have chosen a particular poem to act as transition from one chapter to the next, a concept I explain (in Chapter 1) with reference to musical precedents. Music, indeed, features large, as it does in my own history. My title derives in part from a review of a Nigel Kennedy album of 2008, a recording of classical concertos that incorporates electrified cadenzas and a jazz finale, guaranteeing disapproval from certain quarters of the musical establishment, where boundaries are viewed as sacrosanct. Kennedy is the subject of a current project, but curiosity itself is my bigger concern, related to those procedures that either nurture or threaten it. To sideline curiosity seems to me unthinkable, but I operate within a realm that is itself often viewed as marginal. Poetry is rarely considered central or even relevant to public discourse but I assert here how and why it should be so, focusing on its power to enthuse and engage, to conceptualize and transmit through song. I see my role as a poetry activist: partly poet as social activist; partly activist of poetry itself.

Research GroupEnglish Language and Literature
Department nameInstitute for Work Based Learning
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print04 Apr 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Apr 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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