Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Poetry As Phenomenology

Dr. Judith K. Bowker.

A phenomenological approach to studying communication attempts the most dramatically subjective view of the communicator. Ideally unencumbered with the values and biases of the observer/researcher, this view of the individual appears on the epistemological scene as the "anti-matter" of scientific inquiry. In this paper, I argue for the value of such a view as critical to reasserting value of humanness, value not visible through scientific lenses.

I argue for the use of an art-based inquiry into the personal; in particular, I advocate research participants' creating and discussing their own spontaneous and original poetry about communication encounters. I suggest writing, revising, and discussion of these works as means of discovery; furthermore, I assert that this discovery process functions to reassert the value of art in examining acts of human communication, acts that--by their unique existence--provide telling metaphors about the nature of being human.

In the present environment where routine and economic advantage outstrip the cognitive and the cognitive discredits the humanistic (or romantic, as some call it), this "methodology of art" dares to engage the participant both with themselves and with the research.


Dr. Judith K. Bowker  (United States)
Associate Professor
Department of Speech Communication
Oregon State University

  • Poetry
  • Phenomenology
  • Method
  • Art as Method

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)