Poetry as Knowledge: how epistemic sexism/racism can be disrupted through the poetry of marginalised voices and bodies

Author: Phoebe Sydney-Jones

Sydney-Jones, Phoebe, 2023 Poetry as Knowledge: how epistemic sexism/racism can be disrupted through the poetry of marginalised voices and bodies , Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Terms of Use: This electronic version is (or will be) made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. You may use this material for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact copyright@flinders.edu.au with the details.


This thesis seeks to demonstrate the importance of poetry as a form of knowledge, and how the voices of marginalised bodies can disrupt the instances of epistemic sexism/racism. By engaging with concepts such as phallocentrism, femininity and politics of location, a clear framing will be made to acknowledge the powerful knowledge that arises from poetry. The thesis uses important works in gender studies and philosophy which criticise Western logics, and through using marginalised bodies as an important lens to disrupt such ideas, it is shown the need to think and write through the body. By exploring the works of Luce Irigaray and Audre Lorde, which both engage with theoretical ideas in a creative mode, I use their poetics to interact with the concepts of feminine writing. Lived experience becomes of major importance to understanding poetry as knowledge, which is where Ellen van Neerven will be engaged with, finding parallels between fighting against epistemic sexism and racism, as well as the act of queer writing, as with Lorde’s works. The idea of the erotic will be of significance in discussing the power of poetics and of having one’s own body being centred in work, showing how differences elevate knowledge, and why the idea of knowledge needs to be reformed. I hope to demonstrate the necessity to open up the realm of knowledge to have a richer sense of understanding, and for poetry to be an important part of that.

Keywords: Poetry, lived experience, queer writing, feminism, Audre Lorde, Luce Irigaray, Ellen van Neerven, epistemic sexism/racism, knowledge, gender studies, politics of location

Subject: Humanities thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Laura Roberts