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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Poetic inquiry : a responsive methodology in research and education Shidmehr, Nilofar


My PhD dissertation explores a qualitative methodology of inquiry in the humanities, social ‎sciences, and education called poetic inquiry. The exploration takes place in three movements. ‎The first movement inquires into poetry, as a distinct form of expression from prose, that is ‎concentrated, performative, and affective, resulting from a unique creative process in which the ‎poet responds to her past experiences attentively. This process is promoted by the poet becoming ‎a self-for-an-other whom she presents in her poetry. Here, responsiveness is the lyrical dimension ‎of living that the poet brings to her writing to inspire it. The second movement is a collection of ‎my poetry written in Canada, responsive to the question of my identity as an Iranian-born woman ‎living in diaspora. The poetry is followed by an example of poetic inquiry that emerges out of an ‎intuition of the pathos of belonging/non-belonging and unhomeliness of the world experienced ‎by immigrants. Finally, the third movement includes both an examination of poetic inquiry as a ‎minor form of research distinct from prose-based methodologies and its application to the ‎discourse of the politics of recognition which informs major researches on immigrants’ identities ‎and their recognition in multicultural societies such as Canada. In poetic inquiry, the researcher ‎not only employs a conventional research methodology but, as a poet, also responds ethically to ‎her research in the same way a chorus in Greek drama responds to the dramatic narrative enacted ‎on the stage. This responsiveness is an invocation that makes discursive inquiry act in ways ‎different from its orderly operations so as to transform itself into poetic inquiry. Poetic inquiry ‎includes both customary research and responsiveness as the lyrical dimension of inquiry. I ‎advocate for re-inclusion of the lyrical in the realm of knowledge as research and education. By ‎adding lyrical sensibilities into education, we can restore coherence, enactive complexity, and ‎intensity to educational practices and renders them into educational poetics as termed by Gitlin ‎and Peck. To theorize poetic inquiry, I borrow concepts from philosophers, poetry scholars, ‎literary theorists, and poets such as Deleuze and Guattari, Levinas, Zwicky, Bakhtin, Bachelard, ‎Auden, and Leggo. ‎

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