Mennocostal Musings: Poetic Inquiry and Performance in Narrative Research

Natasha G. Wiebe

Abstract


My narrative research investigates the writing of two critically-acclaimed Canadian Mennonite authors. My methods include interviews with the authors and narrative analysis of their works. I also use a less conventional method, that of writing poetry. Through writing poems about my "mennocostal" (Mennonite and Pentecostal) background, I am coming to new understandings of my self, my past experiences, and my writing-research practices. In turn, these insights help me better understand some experiences and writing practices of my research subjects, as well as what the scholarly literature says about such practices. I research how writing personal narratives can be an act of inquiry—how it can help the writer construct new understandings about her self and her topic. While studying how writing can be inquiry, I practice writing as inquiry. I also perform the poetic data from my research. In this article, I perform some poems through audio files (http://natashagwiebe.googlepages.com/poeticperformances) and give examples of how writing them is making me a better researcher. Along the way, I mention how participating in poetic performances as a listener and performer has helped shape my poetic inquiry and engendered new insights into my narrative research. I conclude by situating my poetic inquiry as performative research.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802423

Keywords


arts-based research; autobiographical writing; Di Brandt; educational research; Canadian Mennonite literature; Miriam Toews; narrative inquiry; Pentecostal; performative research; poetic inquiry

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Copyright (c) 2008 Natasha G. Wiebe

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