Intimate Uncertainties: A Mother Returns to Poetic Inquiry


  • Sarah MacKenzie-Dawson Bucknell University



poetic inquiry, uncertainty, identity, motherhood, education, poststructuralism


Poetic inquiry offers the opportunity to become intimate with those multiple facets of self that shape our understanding. However, as scholars, even when we engage in creative forms of inquiry, we often find ourselves driven to ignore certain aspects of our identities. To acknowledge the personal within our research is uncomfortable and some have even argued, irrelevant. I believe our stories of the personal are extremely relevant, reflecting a landscape of multiple, fluid, intersecting and often contradictory subjectivities. As scholars, each of us has or will struggle at some point along our journey in relationship to our place within our work of doing research. The struggles may be different, but the discomfort is shared. Across the space of this article I use poetic inquiry to enter into discomfort and uncertainly as I try to make sense of what it means to engage in scholarship as a new mother. Through poetic inquiry my story does not exist in isolation, but instead becomes one of many in the larger dialogue of discomfort, uncertainty, self and possibility across the landscape of doing research and being human.


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Author Biography

Sarah MacKenzie-Dawson, Bucknell University

Sarah MacKENZIE-DAWSON spends her days negotiating between her identities as a mother, artist, poet, partner, teacher, scholar and introvert. She relishes in the rare moments of quiet, but also finds her spirit nourished by the beauty of watching her two young daughters discover the world or listening as her college students discover themselves beyond the definitions that may have been placed upon them by society. She is an associate professor of education at Bucknell University, where she teaches courses related to literacy, arts-integration, holistic education, spirituality, gender and social justice. Her research focuses on ideas of identity, connection and isolation.




How to Cite

MacKenzie-Dawson, S. (2018). Intimate Uncertainties: A Mother Returns to Poetic Inquiry. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(3).