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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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Midlife Music: The Overhaul and Frissure

Midlife Music: The Overhaul and Frissure

(p.156) 15. Midlife Music: The Overhaul and Frissure
Kathleen Jamie

Rachel Falconer

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the theme of a midlife threshold in Jamie’s two volumes published in 2012-13. Instead of a conversionary trope, such as we find in the famous opening lines of Dante’s Commedia, Jamie’s poetry here explore edges of being that open onto unfixed and transitional states. The forms of the poems are correspondingly fragmentary and fluid. Images of river flow, breezes and bird flight, predominate. If The Tree House depicts Jamie’s local landscape, The Overhaul performs its weather. The poetry here is musical, in the sense explored by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy: it is coming and going, emerging and fading, unlike visual images which appear at once. And like musical performance, which creates echo chambers between instruments struck and sound responding, the subject captured in Jamie’s midlife poetry is attentive and responsive to many voices and noises, not necessarily human ones. Both formally and thematically, these poems perform the processes of fracture and healing, in the body, in landscape, and above all, in the sounds they make falling on the ear.

Keywords:   Kathleen Jamie, The Overhaul, Frissure, Soundscape, Aural ecology, Poetry and music, J. P. Nancy, listening, attention, thresholds

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