Sensing Different Worlds: Author Spotlight – Dougal McNeill

Dougal is a Pākehā critic and teacher working in the School of English, Film, Theatre, Media Studies and Art History at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Roy Miki’s poetry has obsessed him for many years, and he started thinking with Flow when he was lucky enough to be a visiting fellow in the Centre for Asia and Pacific Studies at Seikei University, Tokyo, in December 2018. Dougal’s teaching covers modernism and Australian, Canadian and New Zealand literatures, and he has published articles and chapters in the Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishA History of New Zealand LiteratureStudies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, and the Journal of New Zealand Literature.



“Sounding: Roy Miki’s Tokyo”



This paper tracks Roy Miki’s explorations of Tokyo across his poetic career. Reading Tokyo as a “sound city”, the paper considers the ways in which Miki deploys a kind of sonic ekphrasis, representing Tokyo by way of its noises, voices, expressions and sounds in order both to explore the city’s multifarious, energetic realities and to subvert and counter the homogenising narratives of Tokyo’s “Otherness” produced by Orientalist discourse. Miki’s soundings in Tokyo, I argue, initiate his wider project as a poet. It is in Tokyo that he is first called to negotiate his particular place as a racialized subject, and it is through his soundings of Tokyo that his own exploratory, innovative poetic project is developed.


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