PhD Defence Kila van der Starre: "Poëzie buiten het boek"

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On 12 February, Dr Kila van der Starre (Languages, Literature and Communication) defends her thesis titled "Poëzie buiten het boek. De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie" at the University Hall.

Kila van der Starre MA. Foto: Joost Bataille
Dr Kila van der Starre. Photo: Joost Bataille

Kila van der Starre’s PhD research shows that most people mainly – or even only – come into contact with poetry via non-book media. Dutch adults for example, mainly experience poetry during funerals and weddings, on television, on the radio and in public spaces. They also come across poems in newspapers and magazines, in interior design and online. In these forms, poetry is very much alive and a widespread phenomenon.

Poetry is part of our daily lives

Poetry is thus part of our daily lives. People use poems for example to mourn, comfort, teach, remember, to express love, to make money, and as decoration and protest. Van der Starre’s research shows that poetry circulates, often completely outside paper books, and that the meaning of a poem can differ per person, per moment and per material medium, even if the text remains unchanged.

Six case studies in the Netherlands and Flanders were researched in this project, categorised as non-book poetry (Plint and street poetry), poetry that largely withdraws from the author's function (tattoos and obituaries) and poetry that circulates outside the traditional literary gatekeepers’ control (Candlelight and Instagram).

Poetry outside the book

In particular, this research shows that a broad perspective on poetry is needed, because if we only look at poetry in books, we overlook most of the poetry users and most of the poetry itself.

The results of this research can be used (and in part have already been used) to improve literature education in schools, to allow literary organisations and publishers to reach a wider audience, and to support regional and national poetry promotion initiatives.

You can access the full text version  of the dissertation Poetry Outside the Book. The Circulation and Use of Poetry (in Dutch) via Utrecht University Repository after the defence. 

V.l.n.r. Omslag boek Poëzie buiten het boek - foto: Sanne Donders. Omslagontwerp: Elgar Snelders; Kila van der Starre met straatpoëzie – foto: Myrthe van Veen; Verdere foto’s straatpoëziewandeling met Kila van der Starre
From left to right: Cover book "Poëzie buiten het boek" - photo: Sanne Donders. Cover design: Elgar Snelders; Kila van der Starre with street poetry - photo: Myrthe van Veen; Further photos street poetry walk with Kila van der Starre.
Start date and time
End date and time
PhD candidate
Dr Kila van der Starre
Poëzie buiten het boek. De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. G. Buelens
Dr L.J. Ham, Dr Y. T'Sjoen