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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Who's the 'write' girl? : a poetic inquiry Wener, Abby


This dissertation closely examines my own experiences as a creative writing facilitator, program coordinator, poet, feminist, and confidante at a creative writing non-profit organization in Vancouver, B.C. Write It . Write It was created specifically to support young women between the ages of 13 and 19 who have been labeled as ‘at-risk.’ I ground the dissertation in Foucauldian theory and situate this work within the field of Girls’ Studies. I braid this critical feminist educational work with the generative area of poetic inquiry to explore the multiple and differing ways the young women who were enrolled in the program have been understood and how the labels of ‘at-risk,’ ‘troubled,’ and ‘in-crisis’ have shaped them. I explore through poetic inquiry my interpretation of how each of the young women in differing ways shaped their own identities and experiences. The original poems were grounded in the detailed journal entries I kept while I was involved in the program. Through poetry I endeavor to represent the various experiences, impressions, understandings, and a witnessing of the young women at Write It. Inquiring poetically enables the exploration of the complexity, contradictions, and poignancy of the program, the young women, and the multiple roles I occupied. We need to get rid of the ‘fixing’ and ‘reformation’ discourses of youth. What needs to be done is to work to advance creativity and self-awareness. The poetic explorations provide effective theoretical, practical, and pedagogical approaches for ‘at-risk’ young women and contributes to the expansive and the fields of Girls’ Studies and poetic inquiry research.

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