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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Wednesday, November 30 • 10:00am - 11:00am
Cognitive Encounters :: 2A4

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Carol Hoggart: Theoretical Theft: Chaucer, literary theory and the (re)creation of fictional character

Does the application of literary theory stifle the act of creative writing? Should one theorise only after the creative act? This paper argues that the fictional reinterpretation of a complex literary character may be facilitated and indeed enhanced by the prior application of theory. To be more specific, I argue that my creative rewriting of the Wife of Bath (of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) has been empowered by Elizabeth Fowler’s theory of ‘social persons’. Further, I propose that Fowler’s character theory has the potential to enrich the creation of many kinds of textual character. The following paper first introduces Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and one of its constituent characters, the Wife of Bath. It then describes Fowler’s theory and applies it in broad brush-strokes to the Chaucerian portrayal of the Wife. Finally, I demonstrate the way in which such theory and practice of literary critique may inform creative writing in the case of my historical novel of the Wife of Bath, The Scarlet Woman

Amelia Walker: In/Sane insights: a poetic inquiry into meaningful metaphors of psychosis

Can a poem be stolen with permission? If it can, what ethical implications – and imperatives – accompany the act of ‘stealing’ from someone already robbed of their voice and endless other rights through involuntary detention within the western psychiatric healthcare system? These two questions underlie this three-part creative work, which also experiments with the possibilities metaphor presents for enhancing interpersonal connections and constructing ethical knowledges in mental health care and research. I write as a former nurse as well as a former patient, thereby offering a rare dual perspective. The first of the three parts in the creative work is a ‘stolen’ poem featuring metaphors generated by a friend who was then receiving psychiatric treatment. This is followed by two prose passages, which contextualise the poem, interpreting the vital meanings my friend’s metaphors hold for me. These, in turn, are followed by a research statement that offers explicit discussion and explication to themes and questions implicit and/or ambiguous within the creative sections. The research statement also functions to consider and revise what might seem to be (but are not) the creative work’s explicit and/or consolidated arguments – for these seeming arguments are designed to provoke, rather than persuade. They lay ground for the research statement’s more critical reconsideration of this work in its broader context. And yet, even the research statement ultimately points towards new questions as opposed to final solutions: it opens directions and underscores the need for further critical and creative inquiry and research into the problems and possibilities of collaboration, (re)interpretation, ethicality, theft and knowledge-making in and beyond the realms of mental health and so-called illness, and particularly into the prospects as well as risks metaphor (re)presents in and for such inquiries. Through complementary actions of poetry, storying and the research statement, this creative and critical text as a whole thereby operates at the nexus of poetic inquiry (Prendergast, Leggo & Sameshima 2009), narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly 2004), autoethnography (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011), narrative medicine (Charon 2006), narrative psychiatry (Lewis 2011) and creative writing research (Krauth & Brien 2012), aiming to contribute to ongoing discussions regarding metaphor, methodology, collaboration, theft and ethicality in and across diverse interdisciplinary fields and contexts.  

Paul Magee: Composition as Creative Memory: Homeric Resonances into the Present

Rates of between 10 to 20 decasyllabic lines per minute were not unusual, Albert Lord notes, in reference to the Yugoslavian oral poets whom he and Milman Parry recorded composing on the spot in the 1930’s. Lord offers two possible explanations for the poets’ extraordinary speed, a factor one could witness at any live performance. Either each such a poet is a ‘phenomenal virtuoso’; or ‘he has a special technique of composition outside out own field of experience.’ (1960: 17). Lord opts for the second of these possibilities and proceeds to explain the composition of oral poetry in terms of the poet/singer’s stringing together of a series of formulaic phrases (“wine-dark sea”, “Rosy-fingered dawn”, “swift-footed Achilles”), i.e. pre-given clusters of words whose metrical and other properties might facilitate “rapid composing in performance.”  In Lord’s words, the oral poet not only ‘makes no conscious effort to break the traditional phrases and incidents’, but is rather ‘forced by the rapidity of composition in performance’ to use them (1960: 4). One might think of duelling in rap. But the Iliadic phrases I have just cited are an indice to the fact that Lord and Parry’s work, though conducted on present-day Yugoslav materials, was intended to cast light on the composition of the Homeric poems as well, and is widely  (though not unanimously) accepted by classical scholars to have been successful in this regard. The Homeric poems were not transmitted through some fantastic act of memory but rather by being repeatedly and rapidly made up on the spot, on the basis of pre-given elements, which included as well as diction, stereotypical scenes and familiar plots.
      Having set forth something of Parry and Lord’s extraordinary empirico-speculative researches, I turn to Elizabeth Minchin’s nuancing of the Parry-Lord account (2001), which suggests that the oral poet’s creation of ‘typical scenes’ or ‘themes’ owe their formulaic nature less to the processes of traditional bardic inheritance Lord and Parry sketch than to the schemas of episodic and procedural memory we instantaneously draw on in everyday conversation and thought to represent our world. I note a surprising resonance between Minchin’s arguments and those William Wordsworth put forward in his famous ‘Preface’, one of the inaugurating manifestos of that modern, verbally iconoclastic poetic project (‘to break the traditional phrases and incidents’) Lord alludes to, and distinguishes oral poetries from. I am referring to Wordsworth’s claim that repeated perception of the everyday passes through the generalising processes of memory into the acts of ‘spontaneous overflow’ at the core of poetic composition (1909: 6). For Wordsworth too, the poetic act is a matter of sudden remembering. Can one remember something new?


Dominique Hecq

Associate Professor, Writing, Swinburne University of Technology
Dominique Hecq  has a background in literary studies, psychoanalysis and translation. Towards a Poetics of Creative Writing (2015) explores creative writing in the academy as an avenue for investigations of creativity while examining the relevance of psychoanalysis for the arts. She has published thirteen major creative works of which Stretchmarks of Sun (2014) is a companion piece to Out of... Read More →

avatar for Carol Hoggart

Carol Hoggart

HDR Student, Curtin University
Carol Hoggart is a final year PhD candidate at Curtin University undertaking a creative-production thesis to re-interpret the Wife of Bath, a character from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This will result in an academic exegesis and the medieval-set historical novel, The Scarlet Woman. Carol previously studied history and English at the University of Western Australia. She has published an historical novel set in Viking Era Norway (A Hawk... Read More →

Paul Magee

Associate Professor, University of Canberra
Paul Magee is Associate Professor at the University of Canberra and has published widely on poetics, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies and Marxian thought. His books are Stone Postcard (2014), Cube Root of Book (2006), both in verse, and the ethnohistorical monograph From Here to Tierra del Fuego (2000). His current project, from which this paper is drawn, is a book entitled Suddenness: On Rapid Knowledge.

Amelia Walker

University of South Australia
Amelia Walker completed her PhD in early 2016 through the University of South Australia, where she now works teaching courses in creative writing and literature.

Wednesday November 30, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
2A4 Building 2, UC

Attendees (5)