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Alternative title: Writing and Trauma
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... no. 42 2017 of TEXT Special Issue est. 2000 TEXT Special Issue Website Series
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Writing is a crucial process to the understanding of trauma. Whether trauma is represented through literature, fiction, non-fiction, auto/biography, memoir, post-generational and Indigenous narratives, poetry, graphic novels, art, photography, dance, plays, film, or closely observed by practitioners teaching creative writing within a classroom or an academic context, this issue includes the many and varied ways writers are bearing witness to trauma in the written form. Writing trauma offers a way of confronting, unpacking, questioning, de/constructing and navigating, the silence and the space, the gaps and the holes, the aporia, the unrepresentable and unknowable, of the sayable and unsayable, in order to reach a better understanding of how trauma is being re-presented within these diverse narratives. ' (Issue introduction)

Notes

  •  Only literary material within AustLit's scope individually indexed. Other material in this issue includes:

    The Body is Just a Metaphor for the Soul: Performing trauma in the work of Leela Corman and Tom Hart by Elizabeth MacFarlane and Leonie Brialey

    The Alexievich method by Maria Tumarkin

    Into the unknown: Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost and the writing of thirdgeneration Holocaust literature by Antonia Strakosch

    The human hole: Problematic representations of trauma in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is illuminated and Extremely loud and incredibly close by Sarah Dowling

    ‘a separate world, a small and enclosed universe’: Phobic de/construction of space in Joan Barfoot’s Dancing in the Dark to circumscribe trauma by Danielle Schaub

    Writing Trauma and Testimony: literary critique and manifesto review by Bridget Haylock

Contents

* Contents derived from the 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Writing Trauma : Traumascopes, Bridget Haylock , Suzanne Hermanoczki , single work criticism

'Writing is a crucial process to the understanding of trauma. Whether trauma is represented through literature, fiction, non-fiction, auto/biography, memoir, post-generational and Indigenous narratives, poetry, graphic novels, art, photography, dance, plays, film, or closely observed by practitioners teaching creative writing within a classroom or an academic context, this issue includes the many and varied ways writers are bearing witness to trauma in the written form. Writing trauma offers a way of confronting, unpacking, questioning, de/constructing and navigating, the silence and the space, the gaps and the holes, the aporia, the unrepresentable and unknowable, of the sayable and unsayable, in order to reach a better understanding of how trauma is being re-presented within these diverse narratives.' (Introduction)

Australia Is a Crime Scene : Natalie Harkin’s Intervention on National Numbness and the National Ideal, Meera Anne Atkinson , single work criticism

'Sara Ahmed analyses the construction of the national ideal, conceiving of nationhood as a formation dependent on the stickiness of an ideal-image informed by complex individual and collective physic processes. In this article, I focus on the Narungga poet, artist, and scholar Natalie Harkin’s debut collection of poems, Dirty Words, through the lens of Ahmed’s work on the socialisation of affect to argue that Harkin’s poetics stage an intervention on national numbness (a consequence, in part, of Australia’s traumatic establishment as a penal colony) and Australia’s Anglo-centric national ideal. I examine Harkin’s challenge to those who continue to fly the traumatising, colonising flag and her witnessing to transgenerational trauma in the post-invasion context, showing how her testimony confronts the denial and division entrenched in the national ideal, past and present. Harkin’s mediation contributes to a burgeoning First Nations poetics in Australia that demands recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experience and knowledge, and calls for justice, accountability, reflection, and response from non-Indigenous Australians.'  (Publication abstract)

Aboriginal Testimony, Trauma and Fiction : Transcribing Massacre in Randolph Stow’s To the Islands, Kate Leah Rendell , single work criticism

'In 1957 the young writer Randolph Stow travelled to Forrest River Mission in East Kimberley, Western Australia to conduct research for a new novel. His experiences and observations at the mission over four months resulted in the publication of his Miles Franklin Award-winning book To the Islands (1958). A novel that fluctuates between the symbolic imperatives of the central narrative and the material realities of Forrest River, To the Islands is both a remarkable and uneasy representation of place. Particularly unsettling is Stow’s inclusion of an oral account of massacre taken down verbatim at the mission in 1957. Arguing that this massacre narrative represents a moment of slippage in the novel – whereby the localised trauma of Forrest River can be seen to infiltrate Stow’s King Lear-like narrative – this paper draws on recent archival research to suggest the massacre account in To the Islands allows a momentary and profound register of colonial violence, not otherwise expressed in the novel.' (Publication abstract)

‘First the Misery, Then the Trauma’ : The Australian Trauma Memoir, Donna Lee Brien , single work criticism

'This article focuses on the trauma memoir as an identifiable type of creative writing. It begins by tracing its popularity, especially in the 1990s, in the process recognising what can be proposed as key works internationally, many of which—but not all—are American, as well as how these texts were received by critics and readers, in order to place the Australian trauma memoir in this broader context. The so-called ‘misery memoir’ is also discussed. As little investigation has focused on the Australian trauma memoir as a form of memoir, this article will profile some (mostly recent) examples of Australian trauma memoir in order to begin to investigate what these texts contribute to our understanding of the trauma memoir as a form of creative writing. This recognises debates over the literary and social value of memoirs.'  (Publication abstract)

Beyond This Point Here Be Dragons : Consideration and Caution for Supervising HDR Writing Trauma Projects, Carolyn Rickett , Sue Joseph , single work criticism

'As memoir and autobiographical/autoethnographic texts flourish in the market place, so this emergence is reflected in the tertiary education sector. Mostly sited within journalism, English and creative writing schools, a proportion of these texts incorporate trauma narrative as students turn to creative practice degrees as a means to write through disruptive autobiographical events. 

'Accordingly, supervisors of HDR candidates undertaking long form trauma narrative find themselves more and more immersed in the trauma, bearing witness to their students’ potential unease. We argue that this type of supervision may potentially necessitate a differentiated management approach, with the establishment of additional protocols, informed by the potential dangers of re-traumatisation of the candidate; and vicarious traumatisation of the supervisor.

'The aim of this paper is to report on some of the preliminary findings of a qualitative research project where a range of Australian academics supervising Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates writing about traumatic experiences were interviewed regarding supervisory protocols and practices.2 Here we focus on selected insights from supervisors who responded to one of the interview questions: ‘what do you consider the potential risks for a student and a supervisor involved in HDR projects framed by trauma narrative?’ We anticipate this paper will provide helpful perspectives from experienced academics for early career supervisors about to embark on trauma shaped projects.' (Publication abstract)

Autobiographical Research in a Post-traumatic Body: A Retrospective Risk Analysis, Angela J. Williams , single work criticism

'The body holds trauma far beyond the brain’s ability to remember. Telling the story of trauma involves negotiating the conflicting needs to craft the story and live within the reawakened pain. This article will examine the impacts of critically engaging with one’s own memoir of survival while living in a body forged by early childhood trauma. The external outcomes of trauma, the bodily reactions, will be linked to the processes of research, with this analysis demonstrating the potential for complex responses to trauma to be understood emotionally, critically and creatively.

'Autobiographical Higher Degree Research sits on the intersection of practice and research and questions of self-care and rehabilitation are core to understanding how future researchers in this field do so while remaining emotionally safe. The research to be discussed explores memoir as a form of self-surveillance, positing that similar disciplinary forces are in place when surveilling one’s self as is demonstrated by contemporary surveillance theory.

'The role of the self-writer who examines trauma will be resituated beyond the concept of ‘victim’, showing how by examining and questioning our own narratives it is possible to find the seeds of self-realisation that are inherent in surviving and creating with the traumatic response.'  (Publication abstract)

Resonances of the Negative : Traumatic Affect and Empty Spaces of Writing, Michael Richardson , single work criticism

'At the heart of literary theories of trauma is the trope of aporia: the unrepresentable, unknowable event that enters into literary language through its fracturing, its falling short of meaning-making (Caruth 1996, Felman and Laub 1992). Yet this aporia is more than collapse of meaning into paradox: it is a site of affective intensity. While this traumatic affect can arrive through language, it also emerges in the resonance of blank space – in writing that embraces absences of text. Tracing these resonances of the negative across two multimodal texts, this paper shows how the material limits of printed words and their relation to empty space evoke traumatic affect. Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition (2015) by Crofton Black and Edmund Clark uses the resonance between documentary evidence, short essays and photographs of emptied sites and spaces to testify to torture and rendition. Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) by Claudia Rankine deploys poetry, layout and artistic images to reimagine the traumas of Blackness in America. Together, these readings show how writing can use negative space as a site of resonance between forms, transforming the limits of written text into new zones for giving life to traumatic affects and granting new nuance to the capacity of literary theory to account for trauma.' (Publication abstract)

Remembering and Rewriting the Familial Traumascape in Alice Pung’s Memoir Her Father’s Daughter, Suzanne Hermanoczki , single work criticism

'Often in immigrant literature, the familial landscape or homeland is considered a traumascape, which as Maria Tumarkin explains, is a place ‘marked by traumatic legacies of violence, suffering and loss’ (2005: 12). For many first-generation immigrants and refugees forced into leaving their homelands, the familial traumascape is also trapped in a past that no longer exists, or exists only in memories that are subject to traumatic ‘visual and sensory triggers’ (Tumarkin 2005: 12). This paper will show how second-generation immigrant writer Alice Pung has used her father’s first generation trigger memories of place in her memoir Her Father’s Daughter (2011) to direct her own writing. A textual analysis of the father’s present day narrative will reveal details of the traumatic events of an unliveable homeland and the intergenerational impact of this familial traumascape on his daughter. It will also discuss how, at the heart of Her Father’s Daughter, is the Barthesian idea of the punctum and its connection with testimony; and how the father’s homeland or familial landscape becomes the traumatic wounded site of painful trigger memories. Examining the writing from the site of the wound, this paper shows how the father’s traumatised memories of his homeland are able to be transformed as postmemories of place and belonging for the second-generation/daughter in her memoir.' (Publication abstract)

Emerging from Entrapment : Sue Woolfe’s Modern Gothic Painted Woman, Bridget Haylock , single work criticism

'In this article, I examine the Gothic generic, narrative and conceptual strategies Sue Woolfe uses to describe creative emergence from the effects of intergenerational trauma and the impact on modalities of subjectivity in Painted Woman (1990), a tale of incest and disavowed artistry. The deployment of the Gothic subverts expectations of power relations, engenders the development of new paradigmatic writing forms, and shows the presence/lack of agency from within the traumatic space. Woolfe reframes embodied experience through experimentation with assumptions around signifying practices, generates radical language through which to testify to trauma and suggest that from abjective experience, empowerment and transformation are not only possible, but also essential.'  (Publication abstract)

The 45th Parallel, Laura Kenny , single work prose

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Writing Trauma : Traumascopes Bridget Haylock , Suzanne Hermanoczki , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 42 2017;

'Writing is a crucial process to the understanding of trauma. Whether trauma is represented through literature, fiction, non-fiction, auto/biography, memoir, post-generational and Indigenous narratives, poetry, graphic novels, art, photography, dance, plays, film, or closely observed by practitioners teaching creative writing within a classroom or an academic context, this issue includes the many and varied ways writers are bearing witness to trauma in the written form. Writing trauma offers a way of confronting, unpacking, questioning, de/constructing and navigating, the silence and the space, the gaps and the holes, the aporia, the unrepresentable and unknowable, of the sayable and unsayable, in order to reach a better understanding of how trauma is being re-presented within these diverse narratives.' (Introduction)

Writing Trauma : Traumascopes Bridget Haylock , Suzanne Hermanoczki , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 42 2017;

'Writing is a crucial process to the understanding of trauma. Whether trauma is represented through literature, fiction, non-fiction, auto/biography, memoir, post-generational and Indigenous narratives, poetry, graphic novels, art, photography, dance, plays, film, or closely observed by practitioners teaching creative writing within a classroom or an academic context, this issue includes the many and varied ways writers are bearing witness to trauma in the written form. Writing trauma offers a way of confronting, unpacking, questioning, de/constructing and navigating, the silence and the space, the gaps and the holes, the aporia, the unrepresentable and unknowable, of the sayable and unsayable, in order to reach a better understanding of how trauma is being re-presented within these diverse narratives.' (Introduction)

Last amended 22 Feb 2018 09:21:19
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