I Poems: Evoking Self


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Abstract

This article argues for the value of I poems as a means to hear and understand the voices of individual women and girls. I poems are a feature of the Listening Guide (e.g., Brown & Gilligan, 1992). As a feminist method, the Listening Guide was developed to attend to the multiple and complex voices found in qualitative data, particularly when the subject of study is taboo or otherwise difficult to discuss. The creation of poems out of participant voices is one way to emotionally engage the reader or audience, and to resist the urge to turn a participant's complex story into a single linear narrative. It is argued that I poems, when constructed with the guidelines set forth by the Listening Guide, are an evocative way to present participant data. To illustrate this, I poems constructed from interview data about women's unwanted sexual experiences are included.

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