Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Like many of Canada's contemporary poets, Erin Mouré is concerned with what she calls "both the trap and the way out: worlds/language ("Changes" 43)." What she seeks to resist is the seduction of the comfortable in language which perpetuates the status quo and enables "anaesthesia," the pull of the dominant order with its claims to truth and common sense.
While Mouré has received a great deal of critical attention, no intensive study of her work as a whole has been attempted. This thesis presents an analysis of her poetic practice as it is informed by her understanding of the relationship between language and our social and bodily existence. In both her theoretical and poetic work, Mouré challenges the binary nature of thought and language, proposing a relational system based on the preposition that eludes the emphasis on the primacy of the opposition of "I" and "Other." Michel Foucault's concept of the transgression and Gilles Deleuze's articulation of the "nuptial" provide important models for the discussion of Moure's prepositional poetics, as does Judith Butler's critique of gender discourses based on the concept of an extra-discursive space.
This discussion begins with an analysis of Moure's transgressive strategies that enable her to elude the moment of interpretation and the assignation of 'meaning' to her work. Chapter Two turns to the body/language binary with a critique of the oppositional stances created for the body by discourses that seek to 'recuperate' the body as an emancipated female space. Instead, Mouré's poetic practice suggests a gestalt structure of 'being in the world' that does not depend on an opposition of discursive and bodily experience. In Chapter Three, I will discuss the civic context of the body, what Moure calls "the Polis," and address the notion of the poet as responsible agent. Part of this responsibility involves a critique of the 'comfort' of accessibility, the individual and of authority. Each chapter includes a brief survey of the critical debate and a close reading of the poetry, focussing largely on the later texts, Furious and Sheepish Beauty, Civilian Love.
Dickson, Lisa Ann, "SISYPHUS DREAMS - THE PREPOSITIONAL POETICS OF ERIN MOURÉ" (1994). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3420.