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Vocation. Vocation single work   essay  
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Vocation. Vocation
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'This hybrid paper of creative work and critical reflections draws on my writing experience and recent poems, largely in the prose poetry form. I describe feelings of lack of identity, of failure, of sometimes being out of place in the world in the struggle to follow one’s vocation. My vocation is to write poetry. This doesn’t fit well with earning a living. I wanted to write from the age of ten. It was short stories at first, and then poetry kicked in at age 14, which I remember as the moment when I started to think for myself. The unhelpful advice of others attempted to steer me away from such a vocation. They meant well. They didn’t want to see me suffer. Teachers at school and older friends said that I should go to University, but they couldn’t give me a reason that I could relate to. I wanted to travel, and to read what I wanted to read – I had discovered reading for pleasure. There were no books in our house, and the fact that I was vaguely academic was a disaster to my family. Writing poetry made one even more suspect, and a sensibility that is perceived as too sensitive can be bullied or ignored. But this vocation is non-negotiable.' (Introduction)


  • Epigraph: I’m tendrils today. Speak to me, I’ll write a poem. Show me the bark, I’ll plant you a tree. Crash me skyblue, I’ll comfort you a cloud. Stand at the bus reading a novel, I’ll oratorio right back at you in a strange and distant land she stood like no other fearless in the face of contumely. Take me to song and record a melody, I’ll be grounded. (Bullock 2016: n.pag)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Axon : Creative Explorations Creative Work vol. 6 no. 2 November 2016 10626152 2016 periodical issue

    'The academic critique of the conditions of creative work has always been slightly disingenuous. In the name of a ‘workerist’ critique – one which highlights the poor returns to artists according to normative models of labour market analysis – the study of creative labour has de-emphasised the fact that the modern notion of ‘work’ is itself placed in question by artists. But the artistic critique of work, as Luc Boltanski an Eve Chiapello usefully describe it, has been central to the vocation of the artist since at least Industrial Modernity. Despite the rise of a commercial cultural economy in the twentieth century, it is hard to imagine an arts sector without the prolific moral economies which, although enabling of appropriation and exploitation due to the weak formalisation of exchange, sustain alternative models of value that contest the commodification of creative activity. Indeed, it is this critique that has in recent decades placed the artist at the avant-garde of discussions of changes to work in general.' (Introduction)

Last amended 16 Jan 2017 11:37:18 Vocation. Vocationsmall AustLit logo Axon : Creative Explorations