Kila van der Starre

Winner Dissertation Prize 2022

Poëzie buiten het boek. De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Geert Buelens
Co-supervisors: Dr. Laurens Ham, Dr. Yves T’Sjoen
Nomination: Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities


Report by the selection committee

With her substantial and multifaceted study, Kila van der Starre went in search of poetry in the wider sense: not only on paper and in the (‘book-focused’) literary world, but also outside it: graffiti, tattoos, T-shirts, death notices, coffee mugs, social media, pillow cases, posters. Poetry turns out to be more than an intimate activity for small groups of practitioners and aficionados. Rather, poems are everywhere. And if poems are everywhere, they can provide pointers, in lots of places and in lots of ways, for literature education, the promotion of reading, poetry lessons, crowdfunding, community building and all other forms of lively, easily accessible literary and social culture.

Kila van der Starre’s dissertation impresses on account of its thorough methodology and exceptional accessibility. Those two qualities even enhance each other, because her detailed surveys extend as far beyond the confines of literary theory as her subject itself does. That makes her research a textbook example of a doctoral study as an open process, with all the accompanying advantages and benefits. Moreover, the easy accessibility already referred to is strengthened by the extremely lucid and legible style in which this bulky book is written.

In short, this is a remarkably original, engaging and applicable (in the practical sense) dissertation. In these ideologically sensitive times, this study offers very practical findings with which to give substance to such subjects as diversity, inclusivity, democratization and accessibility in the field of poetry. In other words, Poëzie buiten het boek: De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie is streetwise literary theory of great social relevance. A beautiful book.