A substantial contribution to knowledge? The question of Modern Poetry's status as Research

Project: Other

Description

The question of poetry's contribution to knowledge is a vexed one, and has been since Plato rejected the art form as intuitive and unreliable. The question has taken on an added local significance since the 1990s, with the rapid expansion in Australia's offerings of higher-level degrees by creative research. University-based artists now promote their art as research, and yet there is no consensus within the field as to how a collection of poetry, or any other such artwork, might in fact contribute to knowledge. The originality of the project is that it takes a new angle on this long-historied debate. The question of poetry's relation to knowledge has typically been addressed through speculation on the knowledge a reader might be said to find within a poem. This project, on the other hand, investigates the knowledge processes that pertain to the production of the poem itself. It involves a series of in-depth interviews with 60 key contemporary poets, from across Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Where do they find their material? What observations do they base their poems on, if any? Are there collective processes to corroborate the significance of their 'findings'? Is there anything like a scientific ethos driving what they do? As well as empirically investigating the ways in which poets might be said to function like scientists, the project has significant intercultural dimensions. It will involve an indigenous researcher who, as partner investigator, will conduct a comparator survey among indigenous Australian poet-storytellers.
Short titleA substantial contribution to knowledge? The quest
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date29/05/0729/12/07