The role of style in reader-involvement: Deictic shifting in contemporary poems

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This article investigates the language of two contrasting contemporary poems in English: "Mittens" by Peter Sansom and "Pain tells you what to wear" by Mebdh McGuckian. The different experiences of reading them are explored using concepts drawn from the narrative theories of Emmott (1997), deictic shift theory (see McIntyre 2006), and blending theory (see Dancygier 2005), with the aim of explaining some of the apparent differences of reader-involvement. Questions of identity and reference are raised in relation to the use of pronouns in such poems, the potential effects of blending of deictic centres is explored and the different literary effects of bringing the reader into the deictic centre or voiding the deictic centre are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Literary Semantics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


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