: Minimalist Poetics

  • James Davies

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    stack: Minimalist Poetics consists of a portfolio of practice-led research — a volume-length minimalist poem entitled stack — and a critical essay. The poem applies and adapts several minimalist writing strategies, which are evaluated in the critical essay to create a text that is rich in imagery yet indeterminate in meaning. In addition, stack is innovative in its structural approach — through original use of enjambment, footnoting and repetition, lines may be treated as discrete entities and, also, as combinations. A key research question that the practice-led component and the critical essay interrogate is the applicability and development of the poetics of the “New Sentence”, and other formally innovative approaches in the field of minimalist writing
    The first part of the critical essay contextualises the creative portfolio in relation to the field of minimalist poetics as a whole. It sets out how stack belongs to a strand of minimalist poetry that evolved out of imagism and objectivism, and whose key practitioners include Robert Grenier, Robert Lax and Aram Saroyan. Subsequently, the thesis outlines the methods that were used to generate the creative portfolio. Effectively these latter sections present a manual for making minimalist poetry. Aside from exploring the written elements of stack, the thesis also examines my practice of conducting what I refer to as ‘minimalist interventions’ (embodied, micro-actions). These interventions, which have taken place in a range of environments, generally function as stimuli for the written aspects of the poem.
    Date of Award8 May 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorPeter Jaeger (Supervisor) & Jeff Hilson (Supervisor)


    • stack, minimalism, minimalist poetry, minimalist poetics

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