Today was the special day in the diary of this DPhil student when I go to perch on the sofa and hear the verdict on my latest bit of research. There were three kinds of good news: 1.) my work doesn’t need substantial revision, just a few little tweaks, before hand in for the transfer of status; 2.) my supervisor isn’t retiring in September after all, in fact, he’ll be here for basically the rest of my thesis; 3.) He has a new grandson. Celebration all round.
My supervisor asked some poignant questions I’ll be mulling over, although they won’t necessarily fit into my thesis. One is why Louis MacNeice seems to be the presiding influence on much contemporary Northern Irish poetry, as opposed to, say, Yeats or Clarke. Another is why Paul Muldoon is so popular with the younger poets. My wooly attempts at responses in the session were something along the lines of perceived ‘cool-ness’, although that seems a very strange term to use for poetry.
One thing I’ve always said that sets research apart from most other ‘real jobs’ is that the thesis never sleeps. I had a rousing reminder of this today when I read a book review and had an epiphany along the lines of ‘He did say that. Wait – she has a poem about that. And she reviewed a book of his too!’
Fingers crossed there are no epiphanies of a critical nature in the pub tonight.