Anthropologist of space: the poetics of representation in Laurie Duggan’s Crab & Winkle


  • Cameron Russell Lowe University of Melbourne


Laurie Duggan, Space, Poetry


This paper explores the representation of contemporary space in the work of Australian poet Laurie Duggan. Focusing upon Duggan’s Crab & Winkle (2009)—a work ‘situated’ in the United Kingdom—the paper contends that such a text presents an example of ‘spatial mapping’, one in which the representation of place and space is both a thematic preoccupation and a determining feature of the poem’s structural concerns. In Crab & Winkle, a book-length record of Duggan’s first year living in East Kent, the reader is offered a diaristic mapping of an environment largely unfamiliar to the poem’s (autobiographical) narrator. In this expatriate work, Australia—as physical and social space—becomes a ghostly presence, an imagined space that is nevertheless a vital component of the cognitive map the text constructs through a collage of everyday materiality and the mental spaces of memory and imagination. Situating Duggan’s work within a tradition of process-based aesthetics, the paper argues that Crab & Winkle constructs experiential, yet necessarily provisional maps of contemporary space that roam from the local to the global.