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Of Cities Lived and Imagined


Of Cities Lived and Imagined

Tan, Nicholas (2014) Of Cities Lived and Imagined. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis is a collection of poems that investigate the unsettled nature of public spaces, urban places, and tensions between individual living and collective living. These exercises in various voices, styles, and forms mimic the polyvocal and heterogeneous lives in cities. The first section of the thesis is a loose exploration of familiar urban sites and occurrences, grounding the true life in cities in everyday routines and encounters. The suite “Cards for Casual Walks” attempts to explore and evoke urban wandering through a series of meditations, occasions, and confrontations. Ideally, these ‘cards’ would be shuffled and re-ordered to present a meandering narrative unique to each reading. This was initially inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s practice of scribbling on index cards when drafting his novels, especially with the posthumous publication of his unfinished The Original of Laura, and Benjamin’s fragmented reflections in The Arcades Project. The third section consists of poems titled with selected headlines from various web-based news sources specifically about cities and public space. Although the headlines give a glimpse into what urban issues and subjects currently concern us (or our major media), they primarily serve as jumping points as the contents of the articles do not necessarily find their way into the body of the poems, which often take a much different trajectory. The final section, “Imagined Cities,” follows in the tradition of invented urban places, particularly in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Anne Carson’s Life of Towns. These cities are constructed from popular philosophical problems and magnified moments of the everyday.
These texts interrogate the conscious and unconscious processes that occur in our public’s ideological structures and collective notions. The language slips, rambles, and skips in the spaces between concreteness and abstraction to portray the erratic nature of dwelling together in these urban landscapes.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Tan, Nicholas
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:April 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):di Michele, Mary
ID Code:978450
Deposited By: NICHOLAS TAN
Deposited On:26 Jun 2014 20:45
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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