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Sorry for being a bit quiet…

By on Sep 17, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

Click here to find out why… and when I’ll be back.  

Between here and the end of this chapter

By on Apr 19, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

I’ve been working for some time on Morrissey’s Japan sequence in Between Here and There for my consideration of form. It has been refreshing to spend time really getting into forms, experiences and whole language systems that are completely unfamiliar to me. The Japan sequence interests me not only on its merits as a beguiling exploration of frustrated communication, culture shock and Otherness (I’m using it in the Lacanian sense, not the postcolonial sense), but because it marked a change for Morrissey in terms of her writing practice. I’m including here a short extract from an interview with Declan Meade published in The Stinging Fly (and available to read in full on their website). My lack of any explanation here is because I’m still mulling, and because what I’ve brewed so far is in my thesis. Tell us about how you write a poem. I write very...

Collaboration and digital engagement

By on Mar 4, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

I’m now able to blog ‘officially’ about a new collaborative skills development project I have been working on for many months. I’ve referred to it a few times on this blog, but, when the application went to the AHRC in September I didn’t want to tempt fate by talking about it. When we received funding I didn’t want to shout about it until there was something to show. Now, there is something to show so I should just get on with it. The C21 Scholar: Digital Engagement in the Arts and Humanities is my new pet project. Developed and managed by a collaborative team of like-minded postgraduate and early career researchers, this project will help others like us to explore how we can use the internet to communicate our research in engaging ways with the wider world. Registration is now open for our first event which will be held here in Oxford in June....

What is academic blogging?

By on Feb 5, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 6 comments

Blogging has been on my mind recently. One reason for this is that I’m responsible for posting a series of blogs written by Oxford graduate students on the Great Writers Inspire blog, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the WordPress interface. I’ve been impressed by the blogs that my peers have written – and I do think that the blog form still represents one of the best and most democratic ways of communicating literary and non-literary ideas. Mark Carrigan, on his blog, recently asked ‘What is “academic blogging”?’, the same question I’ve asked here. He quotes Professor Martin Weller (who incidentally will deliver the keynote at an event on digital humanities I am organising in Oxford in June 2013). In his work The Digital Scholar, Weller suggests that ‘a well-respected digital scholar may well be someone who has no...

Your research network(s) need you!

By on Feb 4, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

The Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network is currently recruiting new Steering Group members. The network is a cross-institutional and student-led initiative which aims to bring together postgraduate students working on contemporary writing by women. I’ve been on the Steering Group since 2010 and although I’ll be leaving when my doctoral studies finish it will be with regret because I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my peers. I’m posting this to explain and reflect on the benefits of being involved in PG CWWN (in my case), but I strongly suspect it is true of any research network, group or association. It is repeated time and again that doctoral students need ‘transferable skills’, and that even if you stay in academia, first class research often isn’t enough to secure that elusive first post. The nature of much literary...

Hi, Hilary Term

By on Feb 1, 2013 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

Following my last post, in mid-December, you could be forgiven for thinking that I’ve been buried in marking since then. Rest assured, things aren’t quite that bad. The marking was done, the feedback was sent, the course ended. There was something about Christmas, and then it was term time all over again except this time I have 4 students to tutor one-to-one and the DPhil finishing post is hurtling ever closer. There is also a graduate progression assessment which required chapter outlines, a schedule to completion and a chapter extract. Later this term, I’ll be interviewed as part of that process. I am trying very hard not to freak out about this. I have a new ‘Research Assistant’ (as Nadine Muller calls academic pets). Vita is a rather naughty 4 month old kitten who likes to chase laser pointers and either sit on my laptop or on me. So far, her outputs...

Marking imminent…

By on Dec 14, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

Rather than posting in full, since a marking flurry is imminent, here is a post I made yesterday for Strange Bedfellows on creativity and staring out a word processor. Also worth a read over at SB is information on a new creative mentoring programme for school students led by humanities graduate students at the Universities of York and Leeds. I look forward to hearing more about how that works out for both sides.

Compiling course outlines is a learning process in itself. Discuss.

By on Dec 6, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

Term is over here, but the wheel never stops turning. This week, I’ve been working on putting together course handbooks for my students for next term as well as preparing for a supervision tomorrow and thinking ahead to next term’s confirmation of status (graduate progression assessment). I also received some good funding news from the AHRC for a project for 2013 – more on that another time. Today, I thought I’d take a break from my usual thesis blethering to talk about compiling course handbooks, specifically for tutoring in Oxford. So far, I’ve put together three handbooks for three visiting students who have (or will) each work with me one-to-one. There doesn’t seem to be any magic formula, but from conversations with other part-time tutors, I’ve developed a framework for a handbook which tells the students most of everything they need to...

Snag List

By on Nov 14, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 1 comment

It has been over a month since my last post, and even that was brief. This hints that I’m rather busy, although I have blogged three whole times over at Strange Bedfellows, so it is more a case of neglect on this side. The thing that I’ve been busiest with in the past three weeks is getting a more advanced draft of my first chapter to my supervisor (I should add this isn’t the first draft of a first chapter, it is a later draft of the chapter which will come first). It needed restructuring, some re-ordering, more links made to the rest of the thesis shape, and I’ve supplemented all that with some surprisingly (for me) high theory. It has Derrida in the first paragraph. Serious stuff, you know. That chapter was sent off for feedback today, and the whole process starts again with chapter two soon. Once I catch up with the other things I’ve been ignoring lately...

Happy National Poetry Day!

By on Oct 4, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

I love National Poetry Day, although I’m rather busy this year (you-know-that-thesis-business) so I’m not able to mark it properly today. Instead, here are some poetry related links… Happy National Poetry Day from Great Writers Inspire – Over on the GWI blog, I’ve posted a Keats poem in honour of this year’s ‘star’ theme. ‘An opening identity crisis: I don’t call myself…’  – Instead of posting about my various anxieties and identity crises here, I’ve blogged about creative and critical identity over at Strange Bedfellows. Feeling retro? – Here is what I was doing on this blog at this time last year. PoetCasting for National Poetry Day 2009 - Recordings from a PoetCasting event held for National Poetry Day in 2009. I distinctly remember that I had a very rotten flu that...

The start of term, and the end of the conference season

By on Oct 1, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

Term is officially here (or does 0th week not count?). Seeing the freshers unloading reminds me of my own arrival here, which was 2 years ago now. Time flies, and as I enter my third year it definitely seems to be shifting quicker. Last Friday I attended the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (FWSA) and Contemporary Women’s Writing Association (CWWA) conference on the theme ‘Feminism and Academia: An Age of Austerity?’ at the University of Nottingham. This was the last conference I have lined up for 2012, and I presented a paper on book reviewing practices in feminist journals and webzines. You can read the abstract online. (Which reminds me, I have a book review in the new issue of Modern Language Review.) Presenting on something other than poetry made a nice change, but was also a little nerve wracking. Over lunch, the two host associations held their...

The summer has ended, and I am not yet saved (or much further on with my thesis)

By on Sep 18, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 1 comment

I haven’t blogged for a long time now, sorry about that to my regular readers and subscribers. As term swings into view, I’m hoping to post more regularly. I will be posting regularly, although not necessarily here. I’m going to be part of a team of bloggers for the Strange Bedfellows project,  a new initiative run by PhD students at the universities of York and Hull and supported by the University of York. The project seeks to engage with how creativity and critical analysis meet in the age of austerity. I’m very excited to be involved, and readers will know that I’ve blogged in the past about these themes. I’m part of a team of 11 bloggers, with interests which span film, music, fiction, poetry, publishing, art, archeology and philosophy. It should be an interesting collaboration! Over the summer, I’ve taught at a two week social enterprise...

Alternative Ways to Meet Thesis Word Targets: Death, Trauma or Self-Mutilation?

By on Jun 18, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

I’ve been writing up part of the chapter quite intensively for the past week or two. I’ve been so embroiled in this, I forgot to mark this blog’s second birthday on the 14th June (for she’s a jolly good fellow, etc.). I did remember to mark my own 24th birthday with some cake and pitchers of Pimms. Each time I start the intensive writing process, I set myself the target of 1000 words a day. Some days, this comes easily and I pass that target by 3pm. Other days I can be still sitting staring at the Word document at 6pm with bloodshot eyes, a stack of tea stained mugs, messy hair and only 700 words to show for all my head scratching, before I give up and hope the next day will be better. I’m always on the look out for tools to make myself produce more/better words. I’ve tried turning off all internet connectivity, or blocking certain web addresses...

Event Retrospective: Return to the Political: Literary Aesthetics and the Influence of Political Thought

By on Jun 18, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

This was my second year attending the University of Oxford English Graduate conference. The theme this year was ‘Return to the Political’, and the variety of papers running across 4 parallel panel sessions addressed everything from pamphlets and performance to propaganda and poetry. My paper was on the ‘Ireland’ panel, and I presented on the politics of dedications in Northern Irish poetry. This is work that I completed for half of a chapter, but I found it so fascinating I’m considering making it into a full chapter. Also on my panel was Rosie Lavan who spoke on Heaney, making reference to the feminist critiques of North, new (queer?) perspectives on the bog woman, and the representation of women of the Troubles in the tabloids. Francis Hutton-Williams spoke on the relationship between the poet Thomas McGreevy and Paul Valéry in inter-war Paris, arguing...

Completing a course online (for the first time)

By on Jun 8, 2012 in Blog, DPhil | 0 comments

I’ve just started my first fully online course through the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Incidentally, this course is about learning to teach online, and I’m looking forward to learning in this kind of environment as a student so that the experience can inform any teaching I do online elsewhere. I did find that online learning environments in my undergraduate experience supplemented my courses when used well. Most of the time it wasn’t an engaging space, and the common criticism was that they were just a data dump for PowerPoint presentations and lecture handouts. Those who didn’t turn up to lectures because these were online were fools. Studying from slides with words on is like buying a CD and listening to it with your ears covered. When esed well, the module spaces became a focal point for all sorts of stimulating material –...