Green dress whose girl is sleeping and Broken wor(l)ds : Edwin Morgan’s science fiction poems
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The Green Dress Whose Girl is Sleeping is a collection of poetry written over a five year period, which demonstrates my interests in formal and linguistic experiment through the themes of death and love. The speakers frequently struggle to accept either, with many of the love poems maintaining a sense of anticipated loss, and many of the death poems reverting to memory and joy as an expression of grief. At the centre of the collection is a series of sonnets, “Our Terraced Hum”, which creates a narrative of observed experience through the premise that the speaker is watching people from a neighbouring block of terraced flats. Meanwhile several science fiction poems permeate the collection, universalising experiences such as love and death to develop a sense of shared experience throughout human histories and territories. In particular, poems such as “Nan, Come from the Water” and “On Her Return from Afghanistan” maintain an autobiographical element to explore the personal impact of a family death, and the varying coping mechanisms people create. The deaths of strangers and animals are also prominent in a number of pieces in this collection, as found in poems such as “How to Kill a Blackbird” and “Heading to a Corner Shop on a Winter’s Day”, whilst major global disasters such as the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York city are the focus of “Sendai-shi” and “Towers”. Poems such as “Kiting”, “House Plant” and “Ghazal Jigsaw” interrogate love as a form of power struggle in romantic relationships, whilst experimentations in form and language become a medium for aesthetic and intellectual stimulation in pieces such as “Star”, “The Promise” and “26 One Word Poems”. A focus on specific events and reactions through varying poetic structures and tropes – surreal, autobiographic, fantastic or otherwise – I hope amalgamates to form a more complete and inclusive sense of collective, complex experience. The critical element, entitled “Broken Wor(l)ds: Edwin Morgan’s Science Fiction Poems”, explores processes of estrangement and uncertainty as vehicles for promoting change throughout Edwin Morgan’s science fiction poems. Chapter one focuses on Morgan’s computer poems, chapter two looks at his space poems, chapter three examines the poem “In Sobieski’s Shield” and chapter four considers Morgan’s dystopian poems. It demonstrates that Morgan deconstructed and rebuilt poetic structure, language and genre as a way of rejecting parochialism and insisting on a progressive poetry which engaged with the modern world.