The misbegotten dancer : the image of the dance in the poetry of Dorothy Livesay

Coombs, Valerie Evelyn (1985) The misbegotten dancer : the image of the dance in the poetry of Dorothy Livesay. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Behind much of Dorothy Livesay's poetry, the reader can clearly detect the rhythms and motions of the dance. Exhibiting her concern with man's inability to always articulate or share his sorrows and joys through the medium of language, Livesay employs the dance motif as an alternate, perhaps even a more reliable form of human expression. Thus the rhythms of the dance are often used to convey those human emotions which may ordinarily seem incommunicable. The repetition of the dance motif throughout her work reflects the psychological dimensions of recurring and constantly evolving themes. It reflects her search for wholeness, as well as the celebration of man's communion with the natural world around him. In its association with circular images, it reaffirms Livesay's optimism and faith in mankind. The poet's belief in the inherent goodness of man is the basis of her use of song and dance elements in her poetry. Livesay's attitude towards, and her affinity with the cyclic world of nature provides her with the impetus to celebrate through the rhythms of the dance. -- For Livesay, the dance becomes an effective way to project and objectify, for the reader, the inner tensions and the complexities of life which the poet experiences. Within the poem, the image of the dance is the poet's means of interpretation and translation. It can as easily convey the ecstatic isolation of the shy, young persona in the imagistic lyrics as it does the joyful celebration of womanhood expressed in the poet's later feminist poems. -- Constantly aware of the limitations of language, Livesay uses the dance motif as a link between the thought and the poetic expression. It also allows her to transcend the world of reality or actuality and to enter that other highly illusory world - the realm of imagination and fantasy. -- As a means of personal expression, the dance allows the persona of Livesay's poems to explore her own sense of identity in order to achieve some measure of freedom and creativity in a world which often demands restraint and conformity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7392
Item ID: 7392
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [165]-171.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1985
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Livesay, Dorothy, 1909---Criticism and interpretation; Dance--Poetry

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