The Welfare of My Enemy

Anthony Lawrence (2010). The Welfare of My Enemy PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Anthony Lawrence
Thesis Title The Welfare of My Enemy
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-11
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Bronwyn Lea
Total pages 159
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary Abstract This thesis is comprised of two parts: a creative component, The Welfare of My Enemy, and a critical essay, “No Stranger to the Darker Waters: Loss, Absence and Reclusiveness in Richard Hugo’s ‘Triggering’ Towns and Rivers”. The creative component is a collection of untitled poems composed of rhyming couplets that work together to create a discontinuous narrative. The poems focus on Missing Persons in the many aspects of what it means for a person to go missing: not only the accepted legal sense – people who simply vanish and are never seen again – but also other forms of absence, including extreme reclusiveness, parental abandonment, mental illness, incarceration, and staged suicide. Employing a range of formal styles, from dramatic monologues to surreal interview poems, the manuscript is a meditation on loss, dislocation, language and love. The critical essay, “No Stranger to the Darker Waters”, argues that loss, reclusiveness and absence are not just major themes within Richard Hugo’s poetry, they are the underlying connecting tissue that brings his entire work into focus. This study engages a diverse range of physical environments – principally the town and rivers of the American Pacific Northwest – which serve to showcase Hugo’s preoccupations with solitude, in all its variousness. By combining perceived notions of what a town or river might contain, as well as Hugo’s intimate regional knowledge, this thesis makes apparent that Hugo was able to locate and define complex emotional histories from the “triggering” or inspirational towns and rivers he encountered. The poems of Richard Hugo have long been a source of inspiration and wonder for me. I read him often while working on The Welfare of My Enemy: his subject matter and vision has always been of interest to me, and his unusual rhythms and syntax continues to amaze me and send me deep into my work.
Keyword poetry, creative writing, missing persons, Richard Hugo, Australian poetry, American poetry

 
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