Bodies in Vertigo: the language of liminalities
Ward, Shelby Elise
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Starting with my own travel experiences, and with the help of poets, Elizabeth Bishop, Jorie Graham, and Emily Dickinson, I create a theory of displacement, called Vertigo. Vertigo is not only a sense of falling, but a sense of detachment from reality that I felt traversing through different cultures, languages, and worlds for the first time. Vertigo is a liminal, transformative space that allows an individual to experience the created nature of their own worldview and culture. This is also a physical experience, as Bishop, Graham, and Dickinson give evidence to in their poetry, as the individual experiences a heightened sense of their physical bodies. This work acknowledges the privileged position of the traveler, and reveals that often the observations we make in this privileged position can be moves of colonization. Poetry is one way to both acknowledge these moves, and to also show what we can learn from these moments when we continue to question and explore. Additionally, poetry, as a medium of mindful reflection, allows for a language that is capable of handling the physical knowledge of the body; the mental mapping of the cultural and personal realities of the individual; and also the geographic and political landscapes that surround an individual or population, simultaneously. With this understanding, the theoretical framework for displacement, bodies, and place, which Bishop, Graham, and Dickinson give us, is the foundation for exploring how poetry can provide knowledge for more 'scientific' writing, such as, cultural geography or cognitive science.
- Masters Theses