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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Poetic inquiry : my journey in language Wu, Botao


This dissertation is a poetic inquiry of my experience in language. Poetic Inquiry incorporates original poetry in academic writing, which ancient poets and scholars had been doing for thousands of years. However, it is not merely a repetition of the old tradition, but uses creative poetry in academic research in a systematic and diverse way. Poetic Inquiry is an umbrella concept to describe the various possibilities for using poetry in research. But, Poetic Inquiry is not any piece of writing with poetry in it. Poetic Inquiry “revisits the philosophical ideas of knowledge generation” (Galvin & Prendergast, 2016, p. xiv). Poetic Inquiry highlights the importance of individual expression, and generally involves poetic truth-seeking and poetical examination of inner and outer experience. The poetic inquiry of my personal experience is anchored in Chinese culture. I use eight words 春秋匪懈,享祀不忒as the frame and themes of each chapter. These Chinese words come from the first collection of Chinese poetry The Book of Songs (11th century B.C.E.-6th century B.C.E.), and they mean that the Lord of Lu worshipped god and ancestors incessantly. My dissertation sums up my former experience and my family stories, and it is a dedication to my ancestors. After these eight chapters of narration, Chinese poems and their English translations, and some English poems, I conclude that Poetic Inquiry grants ordinary people1 a chance to speak out their “impulses and desires” (Dewey, 1997, p. 71), and that collectively, ordinary people can contribute to the revision and reconstitution of the world by telling personal stories.

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