Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of the Arts, English and Media


This thesis consists of a science fiction novel, Earthship, and a critical dissertation, ‘Why Write Poetically? : A dissertation on poetic attention’. Earthship is the story of Lasja Zertov, a human born en route between planets Earth and Serinthea, and her flight from the murderous purge of Earthlings in her home city, Aphrinea. The thesis addresses the problem of how to represent ‘humanness’, at the level of language, when the experience is figural, governed by vague essences that resist specification. Examining poetry by Paul Celan and T.S. Eliot, I explore how poems solve the problem of language’s insufficiency to represent the figural by making language a way of paying attention. I propose an allegorical practice of writing that is organised by a process of poetic attention: intuitive, participatory encounters with the figural reveal patterns in a field of possibility that is stabilised in relation to the figural in itself, and language is added to these patterns in events of poetic writing. I relate this practice to Earthship, arguing that a science fiction novel, like a poem, literalises the figural, in order to stabilise allegorical routes and correspondences between words, between language patterns across a narrative, and between language and what remains unspoken, toward which poetic writing reaches. For a reader, these are routes toward attentive, participatory encounters with the figural, with vague essences and corporealities to which the science fiction narrative pays attention.

This thesis is unavailable until Monday, May 11, 2020



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.