A new suite: The process of knowing through poetry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This critical/creative work responds to a call from Krauth and Watkins for a more radical form of the scholarly paper. Its hybrid form presents poems written in response to events at the second Poetry on the Move festival at the University of Canberra in 2016. Key ideas about the intersections between poetry and knowledge from David McCooey and William Carlos Williams are considered together with readings and discussions by poets Tusiata Avia and Simon Armitage. The article charts writing experiences, tracking the drafts and the editing process for ways in which my festival-inspired poems reflect on the intersections between poetry and knowledge, knowing and unknowing. Specifically, the poems concern the topics of knowing and observing the world; knowing memory and integrating the past with the present; and knowing the body. They embrace embodiment, imagination and biography, conscious of antagonisms between memory and the present. In this article, I problematise the use of the noun knowledge as opposed to the verb knowing and demonstrate that the former is unnecessarily privileged. I argue that articulating the full scope of poetry composition from inspiration to the final stages of editing demonstrates that artistic knowledge is best defined as a process of knowing. It is my contention that poets do demonstrate the knowledge of how to make things, as identified by Aristotle (1954); and also that we show ‘knowing as a process of inquiry’ (Johnson 2010). In doing so, we offer readers ‘new ways of knowing and doing’ (Webb 2012, my emphasis). At the same time, our own new work, as I demonstrate here, responds to knowledge as ‘a living current’ (Williams 1923), an active state characterised by the verb ‘to know’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-453
Number of pages20
JournalTEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Programs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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