UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

What I meant to say about love : a poetic inquiry of un/authorized autobiography Wiebe, Peter Sean


What I Meant to Say about Love is an ever-differing interstitial text which has left open spaces for artists, researchers, and teachers, called a/r/tographers, to contest the curriculum and pedagogy of reduction and pragmatic means-ends orientations that monopolize schools. This text wanders, meanders, and digresses to places where, through poetic inquiry, the notion that there is no pedagogy without love can be explored. In a broad understanding of midrash, as it is performed poetically, three years of an English teacher's life are recorded fictionally. James, the main character, discovers that love is a physically potent force that structures and deconstructs, just as it connects and disconnects. His story considers how the professional emphasis in education compartmentalizes and separates the inner life from the outer life. In love with life, with learning, and with others, the James of this story writes poetry to acknowledge love's power, and to restore its credibility in the classroom—that the lovers' discourse might be trusted again. This un/authorized autobiography ruptures the predictable stories of what it means to be a successful teacher by considering one teacher's journey as a limit case, examining phenomenologically how he connects his life of love and poetry to his classroom practice and how his students respond to his poetically charged way of being. My hope is that it might be possible to offer here, in this place, one poet's understanding and celebration of difference in the world. Recognizing the relationship between what is original and what is shifting, I hope to keep complexity and diversity alive, to resist answers, to continue to converse and traverse and transgress. Thus, with careful attention to poetry as a way of knowing and unknowing, and by attending to the paradox, humour, and irony in one poet's lived experiences, both public professings and inner confessings, as they are understood in relations of difference, or as they are understood in relations of decomposition and fertility, it is possible to consider how powerful emotive experiences, oftentimes relegated to the personal and therefore insignificant, can and do have profound transformational effects on praxis.

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