Seeing in the Dark: The Poetry of Phyllis Webb
Poet Phyllis Webb initiated new ways of seeing into the cultural “dark” of Western thought. By blurring the axis between “light” and “dark,” she redefined in positive terms women’s subjectivity and sexuality, which are traditionally assigned “dark” negative values.
Seeing in the Dark includes perceptive discussions on a number of Webb’s collections, specifically Naked Poems, Wilson’s Bowl, Water and Light and Hanging Fire. Butling shows how Webb uses strategies of subversion, reversal and re-vision of prevailing traditions and tropes to facilitate “seeing in the dark.” She also provides a fascinating analysis of Webb criticism — tracing it over the past thirty years and revealing a shift in critical paradigms. A chapter on biography includes intriguing archival material.
Pauline Butling offers important new ways of reading one of Canada’s finest poets. Seeing in the Dark is essential introductory material for the general reader and provides provocative penetrating analysis for literary scholars.
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Chapter 2 Reading Water and Light
Chapter 3 Form as ProcessForm in Process
Chapter 4 Shifting the ShiftersFrom IYou to IWe
Wilsons Bowl and Hanging Fire
Chapter 6 Webb CriticismA Re View