Metics © (book-length poem) and “Huddle with me”: rhetoric, form, and subjectivity in contemporary socially oriented book-length poetries © (collection of essays)

  • Julie Morrissy

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This PhD is research and practice-based in Creative Writing (Poetry), comprising a hybrid book-length poem titled Metics as its primary component, and a short collection of research essays titled “Huddle with me”: Rhetoric, Form, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Socially Oriented Poetries. Metics features three distinct elements: two lyric personae, one representing my lived experience, and one that reflects experiences of my maternal grandmother, named “Fra” in the poems. The third element is a series of docupoems constructed from Irish legal texts. These three elements interact as the poem switches between the lyric personae poems and the documentary legal poems in order to explore the subjectivities of women in Ireland, culturally, socially and legally. Twentyfirst-century hybrid poetries by American poets, Claudia Rankine, and C. D. Wright, and Canada-based poet, M. NourbeSe Philip are central to the critical inquiries in this thesis, which build on scholarship on political, and rhetorical poetries by Rachel Galvin, Joseph Harrington, Lynn Keller, Dale M. Smith, and Juliana Spahr. The respective poetries of Rankine, Wright, and Philip showcase significant formal hybridity in confronting racism, and the above scholars investigate North American poetries that intervene in civic and political issues, such as war, gender, and racial discrimination, and environmental crises. The essay collection establishes powerful suasive links between formal hybridity and poetry’s ability to contribute to civic frameworks and social movements, and identifies new frameworks, namely “the poetics of the newsfeed” and “the poetics of material interruption”. Further, the hybrid and book-length form of Metics represent new poetic strategies in Irish long-form poetry. By considering the documentary and suasive impulses of contemporary book-length poetries within a rhetorical-critical framework, this thesis argues that there is distinct suasive value in hybrid poetries, and demonstrates the ways in which these poetries contribute to forms of civic engagement.
Date of AwardFeb 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKathleen Mc Cracken (Supervisor) & Frank Sewell (Supervisor)


  • Rhetoric
  • poetry
  • poetics
  • creative writing

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