Lyric geography: geopoetics, practice, and place




Acker, Maleea

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Recent work in the geohumanities has renewed a call for the inclusion of creative work within the discipline of geography. This dissertation works both creatively and critically to answer that call, and to contribute to the geohumanities generally and the subfield of geopoetics particularly. In the theoretical portion of this work, I draw from and dialogue with creative geographies, emotional geographies, nonrepresentational theory, and post-human geographies, arguing that geopoetics is both theory and practice-based and focuses on how to apprehend the world, how to acknowledge and practice the act of perceiving, and the relationship that grows through the act of perceiving and being perceived. This attendance is an ethical act; it helps to enrich understandings of place and of human relationships to the world. I use this understanding of geopoetics to rethink relationships to place through the embrace of poetic technique, an ethics of care, and an acceptance of situated, autobiographical emotion in practice. I use the work of three philosopher-poets (McKay, Zwicky, Lilburn) to argue that geopoetics is a relational ontology that helps contribute culturally to embodied understandings of ethics, landscape, and environment through its practice of attendance and perception. Separately, all three writers contribute variously to conceptualizations of wilderness, home and place; together, I propose that their work serves to further define geopoetics through the manner by which one attends to the world. I also specifically use Zwicky’s work on lyric to intervene in non-representational theory, clarifying ideas on a body-in-the-world. Attendance, for me, involves emotional, sensory, and philosophical engagement but is focused on the world, not on the perceiver. The creative portion of this dissertation puts the theoretical work into practice, adding to understandings of what geopoetics might do. This creative work is an act of attendance, which has as its root a geography of love and an emphasis on how to perceive. Its inclusion further validates creative practice and the inclusion of creative professionals within the discipline of geography.



geohumanities, geopoetics, creative geographies, place, Don McKay, Jan Zwicky, Tim Lilburn, Canadian eco-poets, nonrepresentational theory, emotion, affect, feminist geography, human geography, Anthropocene, ecopoetics