Making Do: Towards a Poetics of Limit through Technological and Embodied Means

Doctoral Dissertation


In this dissertation, I argue that a phenomenological and material account of embodiment maintains a vital role in the experience (and work) of poetry, both in the compositional process and in its reception. Far from closing down poetry’s expressive communicability into a contrived solipsism, the embodied processes at work in poetics opens up a reconceived system of relations in which a poem inhabits. The three essential elements in this system include (1) the embodied state of poets and audience, (2) the technological means and media used by the embodied individuals to either compose or encounter the work, and, lastly, (3) the poetic work itself—material and mediated. The basic premise of Making Do supposes that this interrelated network of aesthetic experience operates roughly in the following way: As poets seek to incorporate new writing technologies and technological concepts into their poetics, they encounter the inescapable influence of their own embodiment as they make use of (and at times struggled with) these technologies that grow increasingly multi-mediated and thus enable new conceptions of poetic materiality and representation but, in doing so, highlight the limitations present in diverse embodied experiences. The diverse materialities of the poetic works sharpens the attention of poets toward their own states of being material, situated, and embodied. Stated otherwise, writers of the last seventy years have broadened their use of poetic media and, in so doing, ran up against the primary medium of—and the state of being materially situated within, and thus limited through—their own bodies.


Attribute NameValues
Author Jacob Thomas Schepers
Contributor Joyelle McSweeney, Committee Member
Contributor Kate E. Marshall, Research Director
Contributor Romana Huk, Committee Member
Contributor Nan Z. Da, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline English
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
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Defense Date
  • 2019-06-21

Submission Date 2019-07-08
Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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