The Flame in the Fire

Susan Utting (2011). The Flame in the Fire MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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s4216937_mphil_finalthesis.pdf Final thesis following acceptance of thesis amendments. application/pdf 334.16KB 12
Author Susan Utting
Thesis Title The Flame in the Fire
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-08
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Bronwyn Lea
Dr. Stuart Glover
Total pages 88
Language eng
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary This thesis through poetry and critical reflection examines the representation of trauma. The major component is a collection of poems entitled The Flame in the Fire: Reflections. The manuscript contains fifty-one lyric poems, a number of which have been published in literary journals and newspaper literary supplements. The poems explore my experiences as an aid relief volunteer on a ranch in southern Zimbabwe, working with HIV/AIDS affected orphans. The first section, Ways of Seeing, opens with the poem ‘Self Reflection on Mwenezi River’ which locates the key setting for the collection and presents a series of portraits; ‘White Farmer and Wife’, ‘Biggest Orphan’ and ‘Old Shona Foreman’, among others. The second section, Return to Kangerong, is set in Australia and explores the residual trauma of the Zimbabwean experience. Poems such as ‘Swings and Slides’ and ‘Daughter at Fifteen’ revisit painful personal memories, intertwined with a series of ‘nocturnal’ fragments about the natural cycle of life and death in an Australian farm setting. The final section, Things Foreknown, explores interior and exterior landscapes, both at home and in Zimbabwe, coming to terms with the total traumatic experience of writing and then rewriting this collection of poems. The ethical process by which this vantage point is achieved is researched, analysed, conclusions drawn and evaluated in the critical component of this thesis. The critical essay, Between the Eye and the ‘I’ in Witness Poetry: Ethical Responsibilities of Representation of Traumatic Events and Situations, examines contemporary theory relating to trauma, trauma studies, witness poetry and the role of the witness poet. After close scrutiny, the position of the eye and the ‘I’ witness is found to alter constantly, with variations in place and time, and when revisited, re-contextualised by the fusion of foresight and hindsight. This pivotal conclusion, of being conscious of the reconstituting of a moment in the moment of its revisiting by the witness poet, is in turn applied to the integration of the creative practice undertaken to produce this thesis. The perceived ethical position of the writer, before the interaction between the critical and creative process, is re-contextualised in and by the writing experience, and the representation of trauma revisited with acknowledged heightened awareness of its attendant ethical responsibilities.
Keyword trauma, witness, ethical responsibilities, Zimbabwe, motherhood.

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Created: Tue, 17 Jan 2012, 12:42:44 EST by Mrs Susan Utting on behalf of Library - Information Access Service