"Un manquement comme bien": the unsaid as poetic resource in Heather Dohollau

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Abstract

As a bilingual poet, Heather Dohollau is well placed to explore the grey areas between languages, as well as between words and what remains to be articulated. This essay explores her handling of the unsaid as both a challenge and a resource to poetry writing. First, I examine what eludes words because it eludes memory, or what Dohollau calls ‘La source intarrissable de l’oubli’. I then turn to the poem’s refusal of closure and the risks of that venture: the idea that ‘[l]e poète vit de sa mort’. In dialogue with Derrida's text Khôra, my last two sections examine the unsaid and its embodiment within the textual space, as areas of unprinted whiteness. Electing ‘un manquement comme bien’, Dohollau’s poetics enacts her motto: ‘pour garder l’impossible intact’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
JournalFrench Forum
Volume37
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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Keywords

  • contemporary poetry
  • Heather Dohollau
  • Khora
  • Jacques Derrida
  • whiteness
  • poetry and philosophy
  • bilingualism and literature

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