White Heron: Authorised Biography of Australia's Pioneering Haiku Writer Janice M Bostok
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The form of this PhD is an authorised biography of Australia’s pioneering haiku writer, Janice M Bostok, titled White Heron. For the purposes of examination, the biography’s Introduction serves as an exegesis. Drawing on material acquired through unrestricted access to the subject and her personal papers, interviews with family and friends, and meticulous research into her prolific literary output, the work employs a double-stranded narrative structure to tell the story of Bostok’s difficult childhood, extraordinary love affairs and groundbreaking creative endeavours. Inquiry into the theory of English-language haiku – a genre of ‘one-breath’ poetry that originated in ancient Japan and is now growing in prominence worldwide – is woven throughout the text. The Introduction is the main repository of material relating to the genesis of the project. It articulates the book’s original contribution to knowledge (White Heron is the first Bostok biography), and contains two prominent lines of inquiry: one haiku-related, and the other associated with biographical theory. Haiku-related concerns include: discussion of a misconception over ‘syllable counting’ commonly associated with English-language haiku; a brief history of haiku and its related forms in Japan; a short analysis of the correspondences between meditation practice and haiku practice; an appraisal of the influence of traditional Japanese poetry on writers connected with the ‘Beat Generation’ (in particular, Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder) and, in turn, the influences of these writers on Bostok; an examination of an over-valuing of the role of Zen in haiku; and, an assessment of the value of haiku as a ‘literary art’.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Humanities
Item Access Status
This thesis has been scanned. Pages 475-477 have been removed from the original.
Bostok, Janice M.