Towards a poetics of field theatre: lyric site-based poetry

Borodale, S (2017) Towards a poetics of field theatre: lyric site-based poetry. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


This thesis defines a poetics of writing the sequence of lyrigraphs, Mouth. My process was to write live, on site; deep within the caves, mines, quarries, geological and archaeological horizons of the Mendip hills in Somerset. I begin with a descent into Swildon's Hole and end with a resurfacing from Eastwater Cavern: dynamic accounts that chart the actual process of composing lyrigraphs underground. In the borderland between the surface and the subterranean, mouths of caves align with the mouth of poetic speech. Lyrigraph records a language of coincidence in the condition of late style. My introductory chapter provides literary and autobiographical context of the impulsive and coincidental mechanisms in my writing practice, in the evolution of what I call 'lyrigraph'. In Chapter One, against the work of Ted Hughes, I explain how lyrigraph (from the Greek lyric and graphos) is a text written on site in which I log moments of 'poetic' utterance and which requires a potent present (the time in which a lyrigraph happens) and field theatre (encounters brought into relation as the lyrigraph is written). Chapter Two, maps the specific topographies and histories of the Mendip as actants in the field theatre of my writing live on site. In Chapter Three, I argue that lyrigraph enables acts of writing in which physical and metaphorical experiences of darkness in landscape converge. Chapter Four describes my archive as a living entity drawn from objects and memory in which the buried landscape is both represented and physically included. In the final chapter, drawing on the works of Ortega y Gasset and Edward Said, the emergence of metaphor and transformative language is explored as a place of mysterious survival from which moments of lyric utterance might be unearthed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

Thesis supervised by Dr. Tracy Brain.

Keywords: PhD by Practice, creative writing, poetry, autobiography, landscape, Somerset (England), Mendip Hills (England), caves, mines, quarries, geological writing, writing practice, transformative language, field theatre, darkness, Ted Hughes, Ortega y Gasset, Edward Said
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 17:40
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 18:46
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