In 2011-13, I’m investigating questions about poetry, value, and accident, in the context of a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, intended to ‘enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and/or ideas’. The questions and methods I’m exploring all have something to do with why contingency, or accident, might have value per se, and how and why poetry can be an embodiment of this. That is to say, I am working to identify behind certain theories of art, culture, and language a largely unarticulated counter-current to the main-stream of Western thought, one which puts into question Aristotelian-subjective as much as Platonist-objective accounts of value. Among the things I’m thinking about at the moment are:
- Poetry and etymology; poets and their dictionaries; lexicography and intertextuality.
- Poetry and society; poetry and politics; poetry and ethics; the poet-as-critic.
- Digital humanities; working with large text corpora; computer assisted literary criticism; poetry and the Oxford English Dictionary.
- The prose and poetry of Emily Dickinson, G. M. Hopkins, T. S. Eliot, Geoffrey Hill, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Don Paterson, and a bunch of others.
I hope to fill this site with a selection of these thoughts, observations, and questions, as a sort of open notebook.