Along with writing up, I had been completing some administrative-related tasks in regards to the Ph.D. In February I was awarded a fee free extension for the year by my University as a result of some bumps (that couldn't be helped) that hindered my progress back in 2011/12. To have no monetary outgoings and a small amount of income via teaching has been such an amazing help to me and I'm so appreciative that my University Research Graduate School have been supportive. I think that this extension illustrates that working with people and being open about problems/concerns/hindrances is key to getting as much as you can out of the Ph.D. process. I definitely think I have learned to navigate red-tape a lot more during the Ph.D. and have certainly become a lot more calm and assertive in getting things done.
Writing-up is still hellish and I get frustrated at myself for not being able to work harder, better, faster. But along the way I've had a lot of advice from people who have been through this process who tell me to relax, enjoy this moment for what it is and just keep chipping away. I intend to.
|My cat... Yes, she only has three legs :-(|
Here's my paper abstract and after the conference I'll be sure to link to my PowerPoint presentation for those interested.
‘I lie waiting’: Unearthing trauma and influence, Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath.
In his critical essay written in 1986 and entitled ‘The Indefatigable Hoof-taps: Sylvia Plath’, Seamus Heaney offers a detailed examination of the poetry of Plath that principally concentrates on how her strict and regimented early verse develops into the unique poetry that, ‘time and space had been waiting for’. However, despite his acknowledgement of Plath’s literary prowess and flashes of artistic brilliance, Heaney ultimately concludes that ‘this poet’s youth’ and the entanglement of biography and unadulterated rage that fills Plath’s later work, ‘overdraws its rights to our sympathy’ and irrevocably limits her writing. With this conclusion, Heaney appears to consciously disassociate his own writings and artistic philosophy from Plath’s poetic objectives and achievements.
Taking into consideration Heaney’s personal friendship with Ted Hughes, this paper will offer a revised interpretation of ‘The Indefatigable Hoof-taps’ and contend that Heaney in fact shares an uniquely strong poetic connection and imaginative inner world with Plath. By devoting particular attention to the similarities found between Heaney’s North (1975) and Plath’s Ariel (1965), this paper will argue that the most striking commonality between these two poets is how their writings respond to and navigate traumatic events and the memories of trauma that permeate both of their lives. Tim Kendall remarks that Heaney and Plath are united in their use of a ‘higher consciousness’ that enables them to comprehend and document themes of trauma and conflict in poetry. Consequently, this paper will explore how Heaney and Plath both poeticise their deeply complicated relationship with instances of death and legacies of mass slaughter by juxtaposing blunt, visceral language with a poetic landscape that is filled with distances and space, bodies that ‘say nothing’ and mute corpses.
Finally, this paper will make the case that Plath’s navigation of trauma informs and inspires Heaney’s narratives, and by unearthing this Plathian influence that has lain unnoticed by many critics, we may approach Heaney’s work from a new position.