Browsing Manitoba Heritage Theses by Subject "21st century poetry"
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- ItemOpen AccessEncountering maternal silence: writing strategies for negotiating margins of mother/ing in contemporary Canadian prairie women's poetry(2016) Hiebert, Luann E.; Brydon, Diana (English, Film, and Theatre) Perry, Adele (History) MacDonald, Tanis (English and Film Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University); Calder, Alison (English, Film, and Theatre)Contemporary Canadian prairie women poets write about the mother figure to counter maternal suppression and the homogenization of maternal representations in literature. Critics, like Marianne Hirsch and Andrea O’Reilly, insist that mothers tell their own stories, yet many mothers are unable to. Daughter and mother stories, Jo Malin argues, overlap. The mother “becomes a subject, or rather an ‘intersubject’” in the text (2). Literary depictions of daughter-mother or mother-child intersubjectivities, however, are not confined to auto/biographical or fictional narratives. As a genre and potential site for representing maternal subjectivities, poetry continues to reside on the margins of motherhood studies and literary criticism. In the following chapters, I examine the writing strategies of selected poets and their representations of mothers specific to three transformative occasions: mourning mother-loss, becoming a mother, and reclaiming a maternal lineage. Several daughter-poets adapt the elegy to remember their deceased mothers and to maintain a connection with them. In accord with Tanis MacDonald and Priscila Uppal, these poets resist closure and interrogate the past. Moreover, they counter maternal absence and preserve her subjectivity in their texts. Similarly, a number of mother-poets begin constructing their mother-child (self-other) relationship prior to childbirth. Drawing on Lisa Guenther’s notions of “birth as a gift of the feminine other” and welcoming the stranger (49), as well as Emily Jeremiah’s link between “‘maternal’ mutuality” and writing and reading practices (“Trouble” 13), I investigate poetic strategies for negotiating and engaging with the “other,” the unborn/newborn and the reader. Other poets explore and interweave bits of stories, memories, dreams and inklings into their own motherlines, an identification with their matrilineage. Poetic discourse(s) reveal the limits of language, but also attest to the benefits of extra-linguistic qualities that poetry provides. The poets I study here make room for the interplay of language and what lies beyond language, engaging the reader and augmenting perceptions of the maternal subject. They offer new ways of signifying maternal subjectivities and relationships, and therefore contribute to the ongoing research into the ever-changing relations among maternal and cultural ideologies, mothering and feminisms, and regional women’s literatures.