When I am reading material for my classes, I often find it hard to put my thoughts into the traditional mode of critical academic prose. I have, however, been lucky enough to have creative outlets in my doctoral program, where essays and MLA formatting are not necessarily requisites to the process of inquiry. Last fall, I took a course entitled “The Poetics of Relation” with Dr. Larissa Lai, who also happens to be my supervisor. Each week as part of my portfolio requirements, I composed a haiku with photographic accompaniments, just a small way of trying to get pointedly at an issue or query that was gnawing at me at any given moment during my reading process. We spent two weeks on a particular writer, studying their creative work one week and their critical work the next (though arguably they are one and the same), a fine balance that prompted me to explore my own creative and critical practices more fully. At the intersection of the texts, I always found myself. My own body, my own affect, my own sensitivities, my own complacency, my own resistance, my own geography, my own always-already implication in the world. Academic inquiry is a difficult thing: sometimes less words and more photographs, more poetry and less pedantry help.


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