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Women's Experimental Poetry in Britain 1970-2010Body, Time and Locale$
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David Kennedy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319778

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319778.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Denise Riley:

Denise Riley:

Corporeal and Desiring Spaces

(p.83) Chapter 6 Denise Riley:
Women's Experimental Poetry in Britain 1970-2010

David Kennedy

Christine Kennedy

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the experimental poetry of Denise Riley, with emphasis on how the self is to be worded and where those words come from, and what happens when the self words itself as lyric. It also asks whether the feminine-as-expression itself is an abrasive zone between instinctive accommodation to, and resistance of, expectant contexts. It considers expectant contexts that seem designed to invite or provoke failure in Riley’s poems, as well as her engagement with lyric. It discusses two bodies of theory that shed light on the relation between the expectant context, ostensible content and seeping affect of language: the work of Christopher Bollas on hysteria and the work of Julia Kristeva. It also offers readings of two of Riley’s poems: ‘The Castalian Spring’ and ‘Laibach Lyrik: Slovenia 1991’. Finally, the chapter analyses two distinct ways in which Riley’s poetry dramatises the confluence of yearning and rupture: imagery of bodily harm and the use of colour.

Keywords:   experimental poetry, Denise Riley, self, lyric, expectant contexts, Christopher Bollas, hysteria, Julia Kristeva, yearning, rupture

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