Poetry and Everyday Sexism

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The first two paragraphs of the introduction to my thesis

Evening all! It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. I’ve been busy revising for my PhD viva – or more accurately, panicking about my PhD viva.

Lots of people kept telling me that I should enjoy my viva, as it’s the only time I will get to talk to people who have read my whole PhD and are interested in my work.

I can see the sense in this, and the truth in it, but the rebellious part of me started to wonder why this is accepted as fact. Why is it the norm that a PhD thesis will not be read by anybody except a few other academics interested in the same topic? I could, I suppose, approach an academic conference of some kind to present my work – or at least, I could have done this before lockdown.

And I have done a few events where I have combined my creative and critical research. However, the thing that I often got frustrated about was that one of the things I enjoyed the most about writing the thesis, and the thing that unlocked the PhD as a whole was structuring it as a ‘reader-directed’ text. This means that there are options embedded in the thesis, and readers have to choose what they would like to read, and look at next.

So I have decided to do an online reading of some of the thesis which will feature online polls so that the audience can decide what they would like to listen to next! This is something that would just be impossible or very unwieldy to make work at a live event, so I’m really excited about the possibility of trying it out over Zoom.

This is an experimental reading – there will be a mix of prose and poems and I have no idea if it will work. I will share as much of what I’m reading as I can on screen, so that people with hearing issues can read along as well. Some of the content may be upsetting and deals with sexual harassment, violence and trauma.

The format of the thesis was partly inspired by my love of ‘Choose your own adventure’ books as a child. I will never forget the sense of power those books gave me, and the sense that language holds possibilities, and that writers wield those possibilities. I really hope some of you can join me on what feels like an adventure into a new way of meeting creative-critical research.

And last thing is – tickets went up this morning on FB and Twitter, and somehow have already managed to sell 50% of the tickets – there is a limit, despite the event being online, due to Zoom capacity. So if you’d like to come, please follow the Eventbrite link below to book a ticket.

If you would like to come, but can’t afford to, for whatever reason, please get in touch. I have three free tickets which have been kindly donated by fellow writers and would really like them to go to a good home. You don’t have to explain personal circumstances or anything – just let me know you’d like one.

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