‘Something axiomatic on the nature of articulacy’: Don Paterson’s ‘An Elliptical Stylus’ as ars poetica

Wilkinson, B. ORCID: 0000-0001-8591-7675 (2017) ‘Something axiomatic on the nature of articulacy’: Don Paterson’s ‘An Elliptical Stylus’ as ars poetica. Textual Practice, 32 (4). pp. 597-609. ISSN 0950-236X

Ben Wilkinson Something Axiomatic on the Nature of Articulacy - Don Paterson's 'An Elliptical Stylus' as Ars Poetica (final version).pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2016.1257505


Scholarly study of the British author Don Paterson’s work may be in its infancy, but the poem ‘An Elliptical Stylus’, from his first collection of poetry Nil Nil (1993), has already attracted a considerable degree of critical attention. This essay discusses various appraisals of the poem, within a detailed exploration of the ways in which divides between, and anxieties surrounding, social classes in contemporary Britain are re-evaluated and redressed within the work. It argues that the poem’s stylistic techniques – its estrangement of the ordinary through perceptually transformative use of quotidian detail, augmented by direct address to the reader and use of personae – also serve to expose the frequently mutable, incoherent nature of personal identity, destabilising broader notions of a unified sense of self. As such, the essay proposes that ‘An Elliptical Stylus’ represents an embryonic ars poetica, and should be viewed not only as a crucial poem in the stylistic and underlying thematic development of Paterson’s writing, but as a key poem in the postmodern canon.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper is here submitted as part of the REF2021 for the Departments of English and Creative Writing at the University of Bolton.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Bolton School of the Arts > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Dr Ben Wilkinson
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 09:17
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2020 08:58
Identification Number: 10.1080/0950236X.2016.1257505
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1242

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