Driving Uncertainty: Karen Solie and the Poetics of the Open Road & 'Hem'

Genevieve Stevens

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


My thesis will argue that the open road, as surface and passage, as reality and symbol, provides
Solie with the conditions necessary to stage her poetics of departure, resistance and uncertainty.
I will demonstrate how the ‘openness’ of the road and her poems’ roads allows Solie the room
to challenge dominant values, and to explore — via these moments of engagement with the
world outside the car window — her preoccupations with perception, mobility, accountability
and attention.

Informed by Solie’s handling of uncertainty, both as a philosophical subject to interrogate and
foster, and as a way of writing poetry, came my own collection: Hem. Whereas Solie takes to
the road, Hem’s poems frequently return to childhood and its memories and foreknowledge to
explore questions of containment and failure, indeterminacy and error, concealment and brief
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Greenlaw, Lavinia, Supervisor
  • Williams, Eley, Supervisor
Award date1 Mar 2024
Publication statusUnpublished - 2024


  • Karen Solie
  • Open Road
  • Poetic Practice
  • Canadian contemporary poetry

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