EKE : a collection of poems
Nurul Wahidah Mohd Tambee
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Studies
This MA thesis, titled EKE: A Collection of Poems, consists a collection of forty visual poems and its accompanying exegesis. The collection of poems is, to borrow a term from Friedrich Schlegel, derived from feelings arising from the “indissoluble antagonism… between the impossibility and the necessity of complete communication” (qtd. in Janowitz 448). The poems in EKE are fragments of thoughts and feelings held in a plasma state, held by a “cat in the throat”, in an instance where meanings diverge, divert, and oscillate in the visual fragmentation and displacement of words and expressions (“A Cat in the Throat”). The fragmentations, arising from “conflicting and contradictory” (“A Cat in the Throat”) perceptions and conceptualisations enact the “theme of incompletion” and the “theme inexpressibility” (Janowitz 444, 446). The collection exists in trying to “(make) a path” to, through, from, and around the “cat in the throat” (“Stray Straws and Straw Men”). The collection, comprising forty visual poems each digitally illustrated in Adobe Photoshop, moves through arcs of ambiguity and ambivalence situated in sight and seeing, in the act of expression and meaning-making, caught in the forces of nature. In the section that follows, the introduction and the exegesis explore the notion of what may make up the “Cat” of the “cat in the throat”. The heart becomes the chief modifier of the “cat in the throat”. Three poems – one by Apollinaire, one by Caroline Bergvall, and an original poem – about the heart are explored in order to uncover some ways in which the heart is a source of obstruction. The exegesis chiefly investigates the way in which the “fragment”, as a product of thoughts making their paths around and through the “cat in the throat”, comes to be an effective way of communicating out of incompletion and inexpressibility. Following the introduction, the exegesis dissolves into a collection of fragments and presents the lyric subject and the many unknowns it faces with respect to itself and others. Titled “Eke-gesis: (S)matters of the heart”, the collection of fragments – of thoughts, feelings and reflections – is an “affirmation” of the “visible juxtapositions” that makes up EKE (Janowitz 449). Set up as a series of personal contemplations upon the origin and conceptualisation of EKE, it invites the reader to track through the “fumble[s] [and] stammer[s]” that pervade the heart of and forms the basis for the collection of poems in EKE.