Timothy Upperton

School of English & Media Studies
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Anti-Confessionalism: investigating the lyric "I" in the poetry of Frederick Seidel

Research Description
I argue that the lyric “I” in Frederick Seidel’s poetry shares some significant characteristics with the “I” in Confessional poetry, but there is a crucial difference. Confessional poetry is a poetry of interiority: the outer world is invoked as an objective correlative of a (usually tortured) inner self. In Seidel’s poems, this inner self is, in Michel Foucault’s conceptual framework, developed by Gilles Deleuze, “the fold” – an infolding of what is exterior: “The inside as an operation of the outside: in all his work Foucault seems haunted by this theme of an inside which is merely the fold of the outside.” This, I argue, is what Seidel’s “I” does, and is: an infolding of what is outside. My research essay (30% of my PhD project) attempts to answer the question: What does the lyric “I” represent in the poetry of Frederick Seidel? The major component of my PhD project (70%) is a book-length collection of poems that also investigates the status of the lyric "I".

Research Importance
Frederick Seidel is an important contemporary poet about whom little academic research has been undertaken.

Personal Description
I am originally from Waipukurau, and I completed my Masters degree at Massey in the 1980s. I chose Massey for the expertise of its supervisors, and the Massey University Scholarship I was awarded enables me to undertake the project fulltime. When I complete the PhD I would like to teach creative writing and develop my own writing further.

Associate Professor Bryan Walpert
Dr Kim Worthington


As at 27 February 2014, eighteen of the nineteen poems so far included in my PhD project have been published or are forthcoming in Landfall, New Zealand Books, New Zealand Listener, Shenandoah (US), Sport, and Turbine

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