The documentary poem is a genre increasingly associated with providing a 'second life' for voices excluded from or misrepresented in official documents. Solmaz Sharif and Philip Metres enact such a poetic extension of archival memory; through scarred and redacted textual bodies, their poetry re-examines documents relating to recent US military operations, reflecting the insidious ways through which 'truth' is rendered a casualty in the official discourses of war. In these wounded texts, the reader is subsequently faced with a position of failed witnessing. This dissertation proposes that an affective and self-aware position of 'with-ness' must be taken in response, which makes no claim to completeness or authority. By validating personal acts of 'with-ness' rather than giving any stamp of authority to an official record, such poetry therefore constitutes an alternative archive. This, however, must be one that mirrors the act of 'with-nessing', continuously adopting a self-reflective and interrogative stance.


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pp. 372-395
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