In this [creative dissertation corner] Hannah Petch tells us about her project discussing whether poetry can create social change
What is your dissertation about?
I am writing a collection of original poetry around the theme of climate change and alongside that, I am discussing whether poetry/literature really has any power/impact in creating social change.
How did you choose the texts for the project?
Some of my texts are scientific/academic but a really important part of my research process has been reading other contemporary poets, I think it’s really important that I’m up to date with the current conversation poets are currently having.
Has your dissertation changed much since submitting your proposal?
My poems have certainly developed since submitting my proposal, the thing about writing about a topic like climate change is that things are constantly changing and my poems have to change alongside that.
What interests you about this topic?
I love writing poems as I feel they can convey certain themes/motifs that other forms can’t. I’m also hugely passionate about the environment and trying to do everything we can to protect it.
What have you enjoyed most and what have you struggled most with?
I’ve really enjoyed the scientific research – more than I thought I would – I’ve struggled a bit to find contemporary poems that discuss climate change but that has just confirmed my belief that this sort of poetry needs to be written.
What has it been like working closely with an academic supervisor?
It’s been really great working with Rebecca Tamás, she has a published poetry collection so I feel really secure under her supervision, she knows exactly what current publishers are looking for when it comes to poetry and we share the same interest in the environment and climate change so it’s been really good.