Department or Program



This thesis examines themes of nostalgia, memory, and displacement in the 1990s work of Scottish poets Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, and Kathleen Jamie. Each of these poets has emigrated from Scotland—Duffy and Kay permanently, Jamie temporarily—and consequently they associate Scotland with the past and childhood, and express displacement from a sense of cultural belonging. Their poetry presents Scotland dually, juxtaposing idealized, clichéd memories and traditions with the physical reality of Scotland’s geographical space and material artifacts. They negotiate the double estrangement of female Scottishness, partially due to their shared experience of maturing during the rise of feminism and the movement towards devolution culminating in the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Their poems test the capacity of language(s), including English and Scots, to embody the intense experience of both personal and national nostalgias. Duffy, who moved to England in childhood, portrays Scotland—and the notion of “home” itself—as intangible, dreamlike, and lost. Kay’s genre-bending, autobiographically-generated work painfully grasps for biological, cultural, and national origins, and emphasizes the Othering power of racism. Jamie’s writing inquires whether Scottish culture should submit to nostalgia and hoard its relics, or cut tethers and dispose of outdated customs, traditions, and objects. Drawing from poetry collections as well as novels, essays, and memoirs, this thesis undertakes a comprehensive analysis of these writers’ meditations on Scotland as “home,” and provides a timely study of Scottish cultural identity given the current movement for Scottish national independence.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Farnsworth, Robert

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.