My doctoral thesis, Robopoetics: The Robot-Lyric Voice has now been submitted for examination. Some stats: 97, 637 words; 251 pages; full printing and binding cost 30 GBP.
I expected to feel strangely bereft, but with the CHASE funding long over I'd already got very used to the idea of this project as a finished one. This felt like crawling over the line. I did receive a very thoughtful gift from the PGR office though:
I'm genuinely looking forward to the next stage. From this point I'll be adapting sections from my thesis for publication, and if the journal publication goes well I'll monograph the thesis. Although I have the typical reservations of a doctoral candidate now (how will this tome of madness go down with the examiners - who are very open minded, adventurous and nice people I hasten to add) I'm genuinely very pleased with what I've produced. My thesis is, in broad terms, an attempt to expand and enliven criticism of lyric poetry, and is an offering of something a little different and adaptable to the discourse. In this sense it belongs to the existing strain of experimental lyric criticism. But I've placed a lot of emphasis on the positive materiality of the real world, such that my theory of robopoetics incorporates the real embodied subjects of writers and readers, because I intended this lyric theory to matter socially and politically (with a particular relevance to socialist feminism). It's a lyric theorisation focusing on community rather than, for example, empathy. I, at least, feel like I've added something, and I'm happy about that.
I'll add a new section to the website dedicated to this extended piece of critical work. The introduction will be available on there to read.
My eternal thanks to my supervisors, Denise Riley and David Nowell Smith, without whom this thesis would not have been possible.