Inheritance, the Camera and the Self
Fraser, Sandra Jan
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This collection of poems, Deconstructing Light, is a poetic memoir, an exploration of my changing relationship with the science of light and certain associated technologies (the camera the telescope and screen) The significant other individual appearing in many of these poems is my father. This collection is also in part an elegy - reflecting on the loss of the photographer dad, the astronomer dad, the guiding light dad. The collection presents a partial view of my personal travel from a place entrenched in science, in rationality; towards the delights of metaphor, the borderlands of truth and non-truth, and the developing confidence to become an unreliable narrator. In particular the camera and photographs are a recurring theme and there are a number of ekphrastic poems. The first section of the work has a ‘history of science’ emphasis - the foundations of my scientific upbringing. The second section is concerned with family life, and particularly my father’s life - as I explore his war experience, his post-war life, and his relationships with partner and children. The third section takes a camera out to the world - the further view - the changes in point of view. Section four is a short introspection on the craft of poetry writing And the final section of the collection references the now and the future, and becomes less narrative and more abstract and metaphorical. The exegesis, Inheritance, The Camera and The Self, describes the theories used in deciding a structure for the work, and also for the focus of the exegesis. I discuss some technical issues and theories, with reference to the sections of the work and to some individual poems. I also consider the wider poetic and memoir genre context for the work, and finally justify considering the collection as a series of verbal selfies, by contrasting the historic development of the written memoir with the historic development of the photographic selfie.