Cadences of voice, conversations of change : the poetry of Bronwen Wallace
Hurlock, Debbie Ann
Master of Arts
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The primary objective of the thesis is to examine three fundamental elements of Bronwen Wallace's narrative poetry: stories, conversations and voice. Wallace employs these methods to probe the moral, personal and political conditions of women and in doing this, offers readers the untold stories of women's lives. This grounds her poetry within the particulars of everyday life, offering readers insight into the mundane yet magical lives of women. I explore these three fundamental elements to illustrate how Wallace records the daily particulars of women's lives with the intent to liberate women further. She offers readers a different perception of women's lives, different in that it detracts from the patriarchally defined perceptions of women. This mitigation of patriarchy begins in chapter one with the examination of inverted perception in Wallace's second collection of poetry. Signs of the Former Tenant. Fundamentally, Wallace sees limitation and possibility as one and the same. She invites the reader to be p art of the conversations of women who have taken the limitations of their lives (often imposed by patriarchy) and created possibilities. Argument, a progeny of conversation, is file heart of Common Magic, the third collection of poetry. The form of argument becomes a vehicle for conveying different perspectives of violence within women's lives. I examine this violence in chapter two and show how the conventional perception of battered women as 'victims' is inverted to women as survivors. This inversion leads into the reworking of the conventional male-defined elegy. The elegy is redefined to include the celebration of women's friendships: a celebration of the earthly and ordinary texture of women's lives and relationships.