Dugald Williamson is Professor in Media and Communications at the University of New England in Armidale NSW. His current research and teaching interests include writing studies, screen documentary and creative industries. His poetry is published or forthcoming in Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite, Meanjin, Social Alternatives, Southerly, Text and Westerly.

Lyrical strategies and poetics of place

This paper explores a range of poetic strategies used to express changing perceptions and experiences of place. It engages with ‘poetry as speculation’, as a theme that provokes reflection on ways in which poetic language enacts thought and feeling — such as surmise and surprise – in a manner not limited to presenting content that might already be considered ‘speculative’. Poems by Rosemary Dobson and Meg Mooney and a prose poem by Stephanie Green are discussed, to explore evocations of place and expressions of mood as diverse as wondering, questioning, and affirming the strange conditionality of things. The paper draws on a range of ideas from studies in poetics about poetic composition, to help analyse the ways in which these poems create dramatic tensions and refresh ways of seeing, speaking and understanding.

Keywords: poetry; prose poetry; lyric; poetics and ethics; place