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UBC Theses and Dissertations

(Re)turning to the poetic I/eye : towards a literacy of light Rajabali, Anar


Rumi once wrote: “When I stop speaking, this poem will close and open its silent wings” (as cited in Barks, 1999, p. 66). This arts-based dissertation is a personal, poetic, and pedagogical study into the kinship between poetic discourse and spiritual expression where I attend to the question: what does it mean to dwell poetically? (Heidegger, 1971; Hölderin, 1984). I contextualize poetry as “the articulation of contemplative perception” (Laude, 2004, p. 11), “a phenomenology of the soul” (Bachelard, 1964, p. xxi), wherein poetic knowledge is a theoria (Lakhani, 2010). I refer to theoria as a way of intellectual seeing that recognizes the sacred in the mundane, which becomes central to my own poetic vision. In enacting this (re)search where writing is the inquiry (Richardson, 2000), I use phenomenologically informed perspectives of a/r/tography in qualitative research that “seeks to show and evoke the presence of a lived experience” (Todres, 2007, p. xi), where theorizing through the inquiry process brings forth understandings (Irwin & Springgay, 2008). In this meta work of researching poetry through poetry, I consider each poetic turn a mediation and meditation in “living a life of deep meaning through perceptual practices that reveal what was once hidden” (Irwin, as cited in Pinar, 2004, p. 10). In a research endeavour that is revelatory, this research site becomes insight. I draw upon Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) metaphor of the rhizome, the underground root system of plants and theoretical underpinning of a/r/tography, which I reconceptualise in the sky to represent my dissertation as writing into a poetics of light. In visualizing what I imagine as a “sky of inquiry,” I make a call for research that has a “wider epistemological embrace” (Todres, 2007, p. 180) in the poetic gaze changing how, what and whom we see (Leggo, 2004a; Cheetham, 2012). Through lyrical ways, each layer of my inquiry sheds light towards understanding poetry as a contemplative pedagogy. In (re)turning to the poetic I/eye, this research represents a pledge to pedagogical encounters that nurture spiritual literacy where purposeful engagement in creative practices can become a gateway to the realms of spirituality. Supplementary audio material is available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/61130

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