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Poets, poetry and new media: Attending to the teaching and learning of poetry

, The University of Western Ontario , Canada

The University of Western Ontario . Awarded


This research takes place at the intersection of (1) poetry, (2) digital learning environments, and (3) multiple literacies, pushing and exploring the boundaries of what can be done with poetry in an online, digital environment. The study is based on interviews with prominent contemporary Canadian poets in an attempt to explore the nature of poetry, the teaching and learning of poetry and the potential role of new media. Part of the research involves creating an online, immersive digital environment with Flash-based, interactive explorations of poems and segments of video that illuminate how the poets view poetry and poetry teaching and learning. For example, one exploration focuses on the oral reading of a poem by eight different readers of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, genders, and includes the poet herself. Each reader offers his or her own inflection, drama and interpretation. Such a multimodal approach, (with an emphasis on the aural, in this case), can offer new and powerful ways to think about and understand poetry. The digital environment serves two purposes: (1) It represents a novel way to approach data collection and content analysis. Short video clips and digital investigations created based on what the poets have said in interviews are organized around the poem thus providing annotations. (2) It also provides a meeting place for the poets and researcher. As I worked digitally, creating poetry explorations based on the ideas that emerged through the interviews, (such as playing with poetic form and conventions and adding dynamic visual representations of images/ideas in the poem), the poets had online access ( to their own and each other’s digitally annotated poems. This provided the poets with the opportunity for reflection and served to further the dialogue in subsequent interviews. The findings suggest that new media’s performative potential facilitates a multimodal understanding of poetry. Reading and writing poetry in new media blurs the boundary between a poem and its performance and reminds us of poetry’s oral origins. The performance potential of new media also spilled over into the research method, where the research data has taken the form of a multimodal research performance.

Keywords. poetry, poetry teaching and learning, new media, multiliteracies, multimodal, digital environment


Hughes, J.M. Poets, poetry and new media: Attending to the teaching and learning of poetry. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Western Ontario. Retrieved May 31, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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