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Kathleen JamieEssays and Poems on Her work$
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Rachel Falconer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696000

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696000.001.0001

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A Poetics of Listening

A Poetics of Listening

(p.10) 1. A Poetics of Listening
Kathleen Jamie

Faith Lawrence

Edinburgh University Press

This is an exploration of Kathleen Jamie’s ‘poetics of listening’, a consideration of the importance of ‘listening' within her poetic practice. A 'poetics of listening' is compared with the notion that a poet must first and foremost ‘find their voice’. Close examination of Jamie's poems suggests that the stance of the ‘listener’ is one which allows the poet to encounter the non-human on equal terms, but which also offers a solution to the ethical question ‘why should I write?’. Jamie has been called a ‘supreme listener’, and listening encounters pervade her work. The value she places on ‘attention’ is shown to have a connection with her interest in the oeuvre of Rainer Maria Rilke. It is also argued that in Jamie's work, learning to listen is a way to live with, rather than protest our impermanence.

Keywords:   Kathleen Jamie, Poetics, Listening, Rilke, Ethics, 'finding a voice’, attention

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