Repetition as revision : explored through the revision of place in Jackie Kay's Fiere, Kathleen Jamie's The Tree House and Crane, a creative composition by Lynn Davidson : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis examines anaphora, parallelism, and repetends, and asks if and how these
techniques of repetition allow for negotiation among meanings, contexts and
possibilities in contemporary poetry. The thesis is comprised of two sections, creative
and critical, with a seventy percent creative and thirty percent critical split.
The critical study is based on a close analysis of anaphora and parallelism in
Jackie Kay’s Fiere (2010) and repetends in Kathleen Jamie’s The Tree House (2004),
while repetition is explored creatively through Crane, an original collection of poetry
shaped and informed by the critical research.
Crane uses techniques of formal repetition to enquire into cultural and
emotional links to place, and the impact of return journeys to significant places on a
reimagining of place and self. There are five sections in Crane, each of which uses
repetition slightly differently to engage with questions of movement between places.
The collection uses repetition to explore how ‘going back’ can be a powerful part of the
process of revising identity and integrating change. The critical portion argues that
Scottish poets Kay and Jamie emphasise the effects of repetition to explore the
perceived dichotomy of having deep roots in a national poetic tradition yet questioning
nationalistic ideologies that can come with that tradition. Kay uses the highly structured
techniques of anaphora and parallelism to layer possibilities for place and belonging;
Jamie’s use of the less formally structured technique of intertextual repetends draws
attention to the responsive and mutable nature of language in order to ask questions
about compositions of place within the natural world.
The thesis argues that repeated words alter in meaning due to the influence of
syntactic environment. Further, it claims that as the repeated word moves through
different syntactic contexts with the resulting alterations in aspects of its meaning, it can
develop figurative meaning and provide possibilities for re-imagining some established
narratives – specifically for this thesis, concepts of identity and place.