Lori Martindale

My work on Dr. Luce Irigaray deals with poetics of language in theoretical discourses.   In The Way of Love, Irigaray’s explanation of constructing language is a poetic act: “Thus to dwell is, according to the poet Hölderlin, for example, a fundamental trait of the human condition.  But being able to dwell would be tied to the act of constructing: without building, there would be no dwelling.  A house, however, could be made of language and to construct could correspond to a poetic activity” (The Way of Love, 144).  The house of language here is in a Nietzschean flux, a communication which resists confinement.  Poetic opening, ambiguity is the space of what I call “writing aperture” (what I refer to as a writing of the poetics of flux) from which Irigaray’s work springs.


The 2011 Luce Irigaray Seminar, which was held at The University of Bristol, England, was a provoking opportunity to discuss my own work directly with Dr. Irigaray in an intensive one week seminar.  The Ph.D. scholars selected were an outstanding group.  This was an invaluable opportunity for me to read a chapter of my own dissertation aloud to Dr. Irigaray and the group, in order to receive verbal feedback.  Students were able to ask her questions about Professor Irigaray’s texts during the seminar, on the history of her theoretical work, as well as to clarify our own ideas in the context of Irigaray’s texts.  It was a rare opportunity to raise questions regarding her theoretical texts, as well as to discuss contemporary issues surrounding her work and the world.  We held a public talk at the University of Bristol at the end of the week.  On the final day, we were able to meet with her one on one for personal interviews.  Here I was able to raise a few more questions and receive feedback on my work.  The ideas and conversations covered in the seminar were diverse from the group, and the group has maintained contact as lasting friendships.

My work investigates a-poetics of language and time in philosophical discourses.  Since the seminar, I have recently completed my Ph.D at The European Graduate School Magna cum laude, an interdisciplinary Media Philosophy program, in Switzerland.  My research interests include continental philosophy, comparative literature, modern poetics, modern experimental film, difference, l’avenir and deconstruction.   My research and teaching are in the disciplines of comparative world literature, critical theory, continental aesthetic philosophy, High Renaissance Drama, 19th c. gothic literatures, modern literature & poetry, teaching of literature in English, writing, technology, and rhetoric.

Part of my dissertation chapters, on Luce Irigaray’s poetics of language, is titled “Writing the Aperture.”  My essays work in tandem with Irigaray’s own written work on language, poetry, ethics, difference, communication, and alterity.  In The Way of Love, Irigaray explains “Poetic language keeps available a part of the energy of coming into relation, and that of thinking where it exists.  The two are moreover separated much less than the Western tradition has claimed” (136).  Irigaray explains poetry as the language of breath, of exile (Luce Irigaray, The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger. Trans. Mary Beth Mader. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999).  It is this alterity of language in the poetic breath which opens the poetic space for the radical possibilities of language in inestimable differences, thresholds, a threshold of becoming and transformation, in an unfolding of being-with in multi-alterity. 

My dissertation on poetic language is currently forthcoming in print, and my article on Irigaray’s poetics of language is also upcoming in Luce Irigaray’s seminar compilation text, titled Teaching III.  I highly recommend the seminar to anyone who is interested in Luce Irigaray’s work.

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