on 18 May 2009
Kristevas work is not an easy read but I think this is where to begin if you want a comprehensive overview of her theory. Where poststructuralism has difficulties explaining the "why" of the poetic experience, Kristeva does that for you, and the theory''s credibilty compares to anyones, Derridas, for example (she is no clear cut adversary of his).
The main psychodynamic hypothesis is that the preverbal language structure is reflected in the semiotic level of language and thus makes a constant rebellion against the symbolic language of reason. This rebellion takes the form of the language disturbances that are inherent to poetry, both in it's classical and modernistic forms.
I used Kristevas thesis for an essay comparing classical symbolistic and postmodern "language-critical" poetry, an no other theory could suffice to explaín the factual impact of poetry in a solid theoretical way, without taking resort to vague opinions- Kristeva is not easy to understand but she is solid. There is also no doubt that she is well versed in the most advanced contemporary language theory. If poetics is your field, you cannot ignore Kristeva, if you agree with her theory -- or not.