Nikki-Lee Birdsey

Nikki-Lee Birdsey is a poet currently researching the intersections of memoir, place, exile and hybrid genres in the work of W.G. Sebald and others.

Commenced 2016

Bio: Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in Piha. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA from New York University. Her poems have been published in various journals including The Iowa ReviewFence MagazineLITThe VoltaHazlitt Random House, and others. In 2015 she was a visiting faculty fellow at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, where she is currently a PhD candidate. Her poetry collection Night As Day (the creative component of her PhD thesis) is forthcoming with Victoria University Press in 2019.

Nikki-Lee writes: 'For my creative thesis I have investigated my own responses to memory in the familiar and unfamiliar context of the New Zealand landscape in its natural, built, emotional, seasonal and circadian versions. I am interested in how memory and its various contingencies affect the creative process. Formal concerns include an examination of doubling imagery and doubling landscapes–such as that of New Zealand and the United States–instability of impression, simultaneous realities, as well as outsider and transnational perspective. I aim to write a creative text consciously engaging a totality of experience: a text that reconstitutes itself by playing out all its possible parts and combinations, moving both backward and forward in time in the multiple contexts of the concurrent critical research. The creative thesis is in verse, but there are also end notes to each poem that function as linked, lyric micro essays. These essays are exploratory rather than explanatory, questioning and challenging reference and theme as well as the act of composition itself. The creative thesis, titled Night As Day, is forthcoming from Victoria University Press in April 2019.'