Research Statement for Anne M. Carson's Folio of Creative Work
NOTE: Three of Carson's shorter poems - "On becoming Anna Magdalena Bach", "Anna Magdalena talks about erster und zweiter Schlaf" and "The Gift of Thee" - are linked below.
Research Background: Numerous poets have, over recent decades, sought to restore historical women to the record from which they have often been excluded. In Australia, poets Jordie Albiston, Jessica Wilkinson, Diane Fahey and Leni Shilton (among others) have dedicated longform projects to writing about a diverse range of historical women – both real as well as mythological/fairy tale characters. My own focus in this project is to employ feminist poetic biography to explore the lives of creative women of accomplishment, specifically Anna Magdalena Bach (soprano singer and harpsichordist) and George Sand (prolific novelist and correspondent). This work continues my ongoing interest in developing a ‘poetics of restitution’—that is, poetry that provides redress for the exclusion of women from the record.
Research Contribution: This folio of poems is part of the creative component of my PhD – poetic biographies of AM Bach and George Sand and my research encounters with them. The poems seek to represent these two creative women who are still overshadowed by their eminent partners (JS Bach and Chopin respectively). The poems combine known facts about the women, with ‘informed imagination’ a technique pioneered in Australia by writers such as Drusilla Modjeska as a means of “uncovering, or recovering, occluded feminine experience”. Exploring themes of female identity, creative relationships, and artistic influence, the poems employ poetic devices such as metaphor, juxtaposition, alliteration and more to explore these biographical elements of the women’s lives.
Research Significance: “Incendiary” was competitively selected from a pool of 400 long poems for inclusion in Rabbit’s 30th issue, appearing alongside poems by eminent poets such as Ania Walwicz, Claire Gaskin and John A. Scott. The five other poems in this folio were published in two international journals, Live Encounters (an online journal based in Indonesia), and The Blue Nib (print and online journal based out of Ireland), bringing an international audience to this work.