Nikki-Lee Birdsey

Nikki-Lee Birdsey is a poet who researched the intersections of memoir, place, exile and hybrid genres in the work of W.G. Sebald and others.

PhD awarded 2020

Bio: Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in Piha. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA from New York University. Her poems have been published in various journals including The Iowa Review, Fence Magazine, LIT, The Volta, Hazlitt Random House, and others. In 2015 she was a visiting faculty fellow at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, subsequently returning as PhD candidate. Her poetry collection Night As Day (the creative component of her PhD thesis) was published by Victoria University Press in 2019.

Nikki-Lee writes: 'For my creative thesis I investigated my own responses to memory in the familiar and unfamiliar context of the New Zealand landscape in its natural, built, emotional, seasonal and circadian versions. I was interested in how memory and its various contingencies affect the creative process. Formal concerns included an examination of doubling imagery and doubling landscapes–such as that of New Zealand and the United States–instability of impression, simultaneous realities, as well as outsider and transnational perspective. I aimed to write a creative text consciously engaging a totality of experience: a text that reconstituted itself by playing out all its possible parts and combinations, moving both backward and forward in time in the multiple contexts of the concurrent critical research.

The creative thesis is in verse, but there are also end notes to each poem that function as linked, lyric micro essays. These essays are exploratory rather than explanatory, questioning and challenging reference and theme as well as the act of composition itself.'

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Victoria University Press author page