Dr Willo Drummond is a Sydney poet, early career researcher and sessional lecturer in creative writing at Macquarie University. Her interdisciplinary research draws upon theories of distributed cognition to illuminate the performative materiality of creative writing cognition and practice.
Willo’s doctoral research (2019) set out to address an age-old question — ‘what role does influence play in the process of literary writing’ — from a little addressed perspective: that of the working writer. Using a blended methodology comprised of archival research, textual analysis and creative writing practice, this project examined the early notebook practices of US poet Denise Levertov, with a focus on a personal index Levertov created to Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 1902-1926 (trans. Hull, 1946) at the outset of her career. The project sought to expand often unquestioned methodological foci outward from practices of reading to the more iterative and inclusive cognitive practices of composition — practices that involve reading but are more than reading alone.
The PhD was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence and included a volume of original poetry, Quiet Deputies, in dialogue with Levertov’s poetry and with her personal index to Rilke’s Selected Letters.
Previously a poetry reader for Overland Literary Journal and an executive committee member for the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, Willo’s literary and scholarly writing is published in Australia and the United States.