Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures



Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 275 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ilka Kressner

Committee Members

Maurice Westmoreland, Jesse Barker


Hanni Ossott, poesía, poesía venezolana, poetry, Venezuelan poetry, Consciousness in literature, Nothing (Philosophy) in literature

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature


Although Hanni Ossott (1946-2002) is considered a unique voice in Venezuelan poetry, no comprehensive studies of her work have yet been undertaken. This dissertation offers a critical reading of the poetry from her early and mid career, a period that encompasses both her best known and least known work. Ossott is mainly remembered for two books from the middle of her trajectory, Hasta que llegue el día y huyan las sombras and El reino donde la noche se abre. However, the four books leading up to these works have been largely ignored, with critics regarding them as an early, experimental stage in her work. In her second stage, which begins with Hasta que llegue el día..., her poetry becomes clearer and more accessible. However, many of the signature themes from her best known work, such as the unconscious, the stream of consciousness, and the concept of Nothingness, had their roots in her early poetry. Tracing the evolution of these themes allows us to better understand the poetry for which Ossott is best remembered while also giving us a new appreciation for her early work. For example, the interest in the unconscious that inspired the Surrealist style of her first book, Formas en el sueño figuran infinitos, also formed the basis for poems such as "Tierra firme" and "El reino donde la noche se abre" from El reino.... Similarly, the experimentation with the stream of consciousness found in her second and third books, Espacios para decir lo mismo and Espacios en disolución, plays a key role in "Del país de la pena," Ossott's best known poem. The theme of Nothingness, which first appeared in Formas en el sueño... and which formed the central theme in Espacios de ausencia y de luz, also inspired poems such as "Ser" and "Una playa sin fin." In the latter, Ossott finally comes to terms with an ambition that informed the first half of her poetic trajectory: to write a poem that would encompass everything. However, El reino... concludes with her realization that she came the closest to capturing Everything when she focused on Nothing.