Category Archives: arts and science

Jabberwocky

Fish out of water: a scientist examines a poetry thesis

Illustration by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky (Carroll 1871, in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There). Public domain.

I’ve been reading a thesis, getting ready for the defence.  I’ve probably been an examiner (internal, external, or opponent) for close to a hundred defences, and I almost always enjoy them.  Most students do, too – at least, those who have realized that their defence is more than (and less than) an exam.  It’s a chance to share their pride in what they’ve done, and as they do so, they know more about that work than anybody else in the room. The defence is new for each student, of course, but by now they’re a comfortable routine for me.

Last year, though, I found myself an examiner for a thesis that yanked me out of my routine.  It was a creative-writing MA thesis in our Department of English.  Continue reading