Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Wayne Koestenbaum

Committee Members

Nancy K. Miller

Eric Lott

Subject Categories

Aesthetics | Language Interpretation and Translation | Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Performance Studies | Poetry


Flicker, Poetics, Evil-Eye, Affect, Aesthetics, Poetry, Turkish, Cut-ups, Effacement, Documentation


This dissertation is a series of lyric essays that describe what I call “the poetics of flicker.” Over the course of five chapters, I draw connections between four interlocking literary and theoretical frameworks for “the flicker”: the Turkish story-telling traditions of my childhood, the evil-eye belief complex, the names I have been given and the politics of naming, and the cut-up technique in modern and contemporary poetry. First, I establish these origin points for the flicker. Then, I enact a “poetics”—derived from the Greek word poiein, "to make”—around it, generating cut-up texts based on my grandfather Ilhan Akant’s archive of cultural and historical documents. Through these generative exercises, I search for a meta-critical voice in my poems; a voice marked by the act of naming, as well as the act of being named.

The poetics of flicker is designed to trouble my own literary impulses towards self-effacement and self-documentation, in an oscillating dynamic between poetic demonstration and critical prose. Beneath the surface of the cross-cultural and contemporary impulses that I study, I argue there is a poetics of flicker that is always churning, and this poetics begins “in the eye,” and is often charged with complex “flicker-feelings,” such as envy and shame. By basing my critical inquiries around my praxis, I am able to offer dissections of multiple language(s), interrogations of educational traditions and institutions, interpretations of the documentary impulse, and analyses of the literary constraints that arise in the production of contemporary texts that are born from the problems of inheritance, but gesture towards the possibilities of new emergence or transformation.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Sunday, June 09, 2024

Graduate Center users:
To read this work, log in to your GC ILL account and place a thesis request.

Non-GC Users:
See the GC’s lending policies to learn more.