Sweetman, L (2018) Wrestling Joan Retallack, passing notes to Marion Milner: creative-critical writing and the PhD proposal. In: Bath Spa University Early Stage Researcher Conference, 14 June 2018, Bath Spa University, Corsham, UK.


Joan Retallack, in The Poethical Wager (2003), writes: ‘Poethical poets… enact the complex dynamics that crisscross…boundaries. The model is no longer one of city- or nation-states of knowledge, each with separate allegiances and consequences,…but instead the more global patterns of ecology, environmentalism, biorealism, the complex modelings of the nonlinear sciences, chaos theory.’ Marion Milner, meanwhile, reminds us that many of the answers we seek for ourselves can be found in the archive of ourselves (Milner, 2011). In her search to understand what makes her happy, Milner explores her diaries, notebooks and the fragments of writing she has collected and discarded over a lifetime. Retallack and Milner are my guides in this paper as I attempt a creative-critical response to the act of researching and writing a creative-critical PhD proposal. Retallack is in the bar shouting that it is the responsibility of creative work to reach out and argue with the world, with other literature and other artists. Milner is writing on the beer mats. I am in the lounge bar, trying to understand how best to describe a hybrid form of memoir and generalist nonfiction that allows me to brush clean the fragments of my own life while telling a story about how adults live with and recover from chronic illness in childhood. Come for the philosophical fist fights, stay for the quiet introspection as I recognise the power of writing my own story while a small group of people very close to me (my family) are full of their own versions of it. Marvel as Retallack, Milner and I look outward and inward for our sources as we challenge ourselves to find a balance between the two.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 14:35
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2018 14:35
References: Retallack, J. (2003) The Poethical Wager, University of California Press: London. Milner, M. (2011) A Life of One’s Own, Routledge: Sussex.
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