Affective Mapping in Lyric Poetry

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Like the naturalist, the cartographer, or the surveyor, the poet’s visual and aural engagement with a landscape seeks to map and determine spaces. However, the poet’s eye is endowed with a freedom to observe and record sensations in addition to those that make up the concrete landscape. The poet thus communicates with a freedom of affect that the geographer or naturalist cannot notate, bridging the gap between the ready-to-hand of the observer in the natural setting, and the present-at-hand of the geographer or naturalist’s detachedly observed phenomena or specimens. Through this freedom of vision and voice, the “I” (enunciating first person pronoun) and the “eye” (or angle of poetic vision) of the poem become necessarily interchangeable, producing a blurring between landscape and voice that the reader of the poem must subsequently negotiate, engaging affectively with the poem on a level different than that of its creator. Poetic voice and the space from which and about which enunciation occurs simultaneously demands and evades definition as the position of the first person pronoun and angle of vision shifts, and all too frequently the two major constituent elements of poetic experience—the poem read as stemming from an “I” (the implied speaker’s or a personal or psychological point of view) and the poem as stemming from an “eye” (the mimetic constructions of landscape, theme, and image in the space of the poem)—are separated in criticism to facilitate an apparently stable understanding of the text in question.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeocritical Explorations
Subtitle of host publicationSpace, Place, and Mapping in Literary and Cultural Studies
EditorsRobert Tally
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780230337930
ISBN (Print)9780230120808, 9781349298884, 9781137471109
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Catalysis
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