A rat-shaped tear; and Beyond the other: animals in the poetry of D.H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore
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The poems in A Rat-Shaped Tear consider wide-ranging ideas of otherness using character and voice. Through misdirection, understatement and unexpected imagery I confront ideas of animal and female otherness in playful ways as a means of subverting traditional impressions of both. The othering effects of grief are also examined in poems that reflect on bereavement and mortality. Human-animal interaction is used to further explore the effects of death and disappointment, though overtones of cartoonish extravagance, dark humour and the surreal temper the more serious themes of loss, disillusionment and loneliness that recur within the collection. In the accompanying thesis, I focus on the work of three poets – D.H Lawrence, Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop – each of whom confront animal otherness in their work. Through close examinations of their individual works, I explore the differences in approach to human-animal interaction, and the ways in which these poets draw meaning from animal otherness. It is suggested that although they engage with the concept using varied poetic techniques, they are drawn together by the intimations of spiritual transcendence that permeate each of their animal poetics.