This study is comprised of two parts: a collection of poetry called Little Man, followed by critical analysis with reflection on my writing as a poet. Spaced at intervals within Little Man is a sequence of poems that list ordinary items washed-up on the tideline of Swansea Beach. The writing process that underpins these poems is a straightforward one: in a specific order, document and catalogue random objects that have been randomly deposited at set times, at a set place. It is this place – where the chance of what might get washed up, meets a writing process based on constraint – that has become the starting point for the subject of this critical reflection.
My study stems from the need to reconcile a tension that has surfaced during the writing of the poems that make up my creative project; a tension that is generated between those poems that are image-based and have been influenced by Surrealism, and those that demonstrate my emerging interest in procedural poetry and have been influenced by the work of George Perec and the wider Oulipean movement. In this study I will explore the interplay and overlap between these two influences, and examine the role that chance and constraint play in my creative writing. Through this exploration, I will demonstrate how by occupying a space between these two notions I have generated a greater range of writing tools to attend to a central concern in my creative work – the everyday, our estrangement from it, and our need to re-establish a newly defined connection with it.