Writing the roaming subject: the biotext in Canadian literature
Engaging current debates within the studies of life writing and of the nation-state, Writing the Roaming Subject focuses on a group of Canadian writers who pose questions about cultural difference and national identity while writing about their own lives and their own experiences of displacement. Joanne Saul uses the term 'biotext' to describe the unique form of writing that challenges critical practices regarding both life writing and immigrant and ethnic minority writing by blurring the borders of biography, autobiography, history, fiction and theory, as well as poetry, prose, and visual representation.In her readings of selected contemporary Canadian biotexts - including Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family, Daphne Marlatt's Ghost Works, Roy Kiyooka's Mothertalk, and Fred Wah's Diamond Grill - Saul suggests that by crossing generic boundaries, these works illuminate the complex relationships between language, place, and self as they are manifested in textual form. Writing the Roaming Subject explores issues of identity formation, representation, and resistance in Canada and suggests that these are particularly crucial questions during a period of Canadian literary history when so many writers are insisting on new, more diverse cultural performances that resist the pull of the national imaginary.
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argues articulation attempt autobiography belonging biotext Breathin cafe Canada Canadian challenges Chinese Chinese-Canadian collection complex connection constructed context critical cultural recovery Daphne Marlatt Diamond Grill diasporic displacement emphasis English essays ethnic example experience explore fact father feel feminist fiction filtered focus foreground fragments Fred Wah gender genre George Bowering Hug a Stone Hungry Ghosts hybridity hyphen identity immigrant Issei Japan Japanese Japanese Canadian journal entries journey kind Kiyooka's manuscripts language layering linear literary long poem Malaysia Mary Mary's stories memory Michael Ondaatje Miki Month of Hungry mother Mothertalk multiple n.pag narrative narrator negotiation Ondaatje Ondaatje's past poetics poetry poets politics postcolonial proprioceptive prose poetry questions race reader relationship representation rewriting roles Roy Kiyooka Roy Miki Running self-conscious sense Sharon Thesen shifting specific Sri Lanka strategies suggests textual theory tion Tish transcripts travels Vancouver various voice Wah's Waiting for Saskatchewan writing Zocalo