Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The use of poetry to convey emotions in Masters and Doctoral work

Tomorrow's Emotions Series Seminar, The use of poetry to convey emotions in Masters and Doctoral work, will be delivered by Ruth Aird and Kath MacDonald. Ruth and Kath met when Ruth was a Masters student at Queen Margaret University, where Kath is a senior lecturer. They both share an interest in poetry as a means of dissemination of research and as a basis for teaching. Together they have developed Ruth‘s work on Impostership, which will form part the seminar; the other part will showcase Kath’s Doctoral work around the expert patient and living with a long term condition. Here, Ruth and Kath each present one of their poems for us.


Emotions and perception vary depending on the place where you are standing to view the world. If I was standing on a wet, cold and windy mountain with the clouds swirling around me, clawing at my damp clothes, I would be fairly miserable. But if I was looking up at that mountain from the warm shelter of a cottage, with a crackling fire spitting in the hearth and the smell of soft baked bread infusing the wooden beams, I would feel safe and protected with a warm sense of well being. Unless I go and stand on that mountain I cannot understand or enter into the feelings and emotions of that other person, neither have I earned the right to comment.

This poem is the mind story of a girl on the shore watching a seal in the sea watching her. 
Perception and my world

I saw her standing on the shore
I was safe, she was not.
She stood on hard unyielding granite
But I could feel the tremors
Which moved the land beneath her feet.
There was no support to shield her
From the buffeting of the unrelenting wind
While I was held on every side
Safe and secure in a liquid cushion.
She shivered slightly, shoulders hunched
Against the next wave of wind
Gathering behind the high stone wall
Waiting to pounce when she least expected.
Dry white grass clutched her feet
As she turned away, one last envious look
At my emerald empire, I saw her trudge
Towards a box of stone, locking herself in
Against a world of uncertain destiny.
I saw him watching me
I was safe, he was not.
Head above the angry waves
A curious eye upon my green utopia.
The surface of the sea shifted
With continual uncertainty, lashing the rocks
At the perimeter of his prison.
The blubber on his back was fixed
No impression from the seething cauldron
Could be seen from my perspective.
A storm gathered on the dipping horizon
His neck was too thick to turn and see danger.
As he slid beneath a corkscrew wave
I saw him flapping a sad goodbye
Sinking to slimy depths amongst
The forest kelp, his vision sadly dull.

Papa Westray, Orkney, October 2008

I have found that using poetry as narrative can help to illustrate emergent meanings and streams of consciousness in a more powerful way than prose. 

My experiences of experimenting with this form of media have taken me in new directions which I am excited about and will share in the forthcoming seminar on 9th December. I am really keen to develop this work and want to know if there are other like-minded people out there who are already part of a group or who would like to form a poetry group to develop similar work - please contact me on kmacdonald@qmu.ac.uk

Here is an extract from a piece of work, which relates to the theme of normalcy as a coping mechanism in chronic illness.

What’s in a norm?
In a socially constructed world there is no such thing as normal
So says Thorne (1993)
But as for me
CF is all I’ve known so it’s normal you see; for me
People ask: what’s it like living with cf?
It’s just the way it is I say- not always ok
embedded, routine
Just part of my day
And my biography
So I don’t see it as extra
The way others may
So when you ask me – what’s it like?
I don’t report it that way
Its just part of my day

To hear more of Ruth and Kath's poetry, book a place at their seminar:

Wednesday 9 December, 12-2pm at CRFR, 23 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh
The seminar is free, but booking is essential via crfr.events@ed.ac.uk or 0131 651 1832

Ruth E. Aird, NES National Coordinator for General Practice Nursing Scotland (Job share) RGN* ONC MSc (Ed). Ruth is a General Practice Nurse who has been working in practice for 18 years and is now working for National Health Education Scotland.
Kath MacDonald D.H&SSc, MSc, PGCE, RGN, is a senior lecturer at Queen Margaret University.

No comments:

Post a Comment