Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Richard Douglass-Chin


Abject, Interbeing, Postcolonialism, Postmodernism, Relationality, Sociogeny




This project, upon taking a close look at the poetics of NourbeSe Philip and Robin Blaser, investigates how centralizing absence as integral to the postmodern poetic process is actually antithetical to the aim of bringing others forward1. I argue that in order for a writer to enter humility and bring others forward, she must first understand her own presence in the world. This project interrogates a key concern for contemporary Canadian poets, the ‘lyrical I’; that is, should poetics involve minimizing or eradicating the ‘self’ in the pursuit of the dialogical function of poetry “rather than be a vehicle for ‘personal expression’ or inscription of individual experience?” (Mossin, "In the Shadow of Nerval: Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser, and the Poetics of (Mis) Translation.” 673) The fact that this sentiment, promulgated by poststructuralism’s paradigmatic evacuation from liberal humanism in the 1960’s was popularizing just as laws and social policies concerning Black civil rights and women’s rights were being challenged necessitates a hard look the implications poststructuralism has for historically marginalized and colonized writers, especially given the current political climate of Black Lives Matter and Me Too. This project also examines what is lost when we adopt a mode of aesthetics that rejects narrative, and any regard to the interconnectedness (or ‘interbeing’, a term coined by Thich Nhat Hanh) of history, culture, and identity as key to the development of critical theory and discourse.To elucidate these issues along with the erasure of the non-Western antecedents that led to the development of literary theoretical pursuits across the West, I lean on the critical works of Julia Kristeva, with particular attention to her concept ‘abjection’, Frantz Fanon’s ‘sociogeny’, and Edouard Glissant’s ‘relationality’.

Available for download on Monday, September 06, 2021