In these captivating poems from their joint project, Wendy Allen and Charley Barnes explore the fluid relationship of two narrators to their bodies, to the people surrounding them, and to the physical spaces their bodies occupy.
‘dirty glass | the glass house’ is a dual narrative work written with characters A and B. Though our speakers are leading very different lives to each other, there are ways in which their narratives intersect: namely through their relationships to their bodies, themselves and their lovers, or lack thereof. We are both using and interacting with glass in different ways throughout the work: Wendy to show entrapment and mirroring; Charley to show a more literal mirroring, with a character preoccupied with her reflection who keeps moving a large looking glass around her home. Through these voices, we are looking to explore the light prism(s) of self and womxnhood, and the ways in which we bend and change characters, sometimes unknowingly, but sometimes very deliberately too.
bathroom in her flat by Charley Barnes
Red Silk Kite by Wendy Allen
About Charley Barnes
Dr Charley Barnes is a Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. She is the solo author of several poetry pamphlets, and has co-authored a number of works too. Barnes’ academic work predominantly deals with crime fiction, gendered violence, and representations of female characters. She has published a number of novels under the name of Charlotte, most recently The Things I Didn’t Do which considers depictions of female villains and violence in the media.
About Wendy Allen
Wendy Allen has been published in Ambit and Poetry Wales. Her first micro pamphlet was published by Broken Sleep in 2021 and a full pamphlet will be published in 2023, again with Broken Sleep. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes.
This piece was submitted as part of our latest mini-series, Our Body’s Bodies
Everything is written on the body – but what does it mean to write about our bodies in the era of Covid-19? And is it possible to write about bodily experiences in the face of such pervasive and continued violence? Using different modes of writing and art making, Lucy Writers presents a miniseries featuring creatives whose work, ideas and personal experiences explore embodiment, bodily agency, the liberties imposed on, taken with, or found in our bodies. Beginning from a position of multiplicity and intersectionality, our contributors explore their body’s bodies and the languages – visual, linguistic, aural, performance-based and otherwise – that have enabled them to express and reclaim different forms of (dis)embodiment in the last two years. Starting with the body(s), but going outwards to connect with encounters that (dis)connect us from the bodies of others – illness, accessibility, gender, race and class, work, and political and legal precedents and movements – Our Body’s Bodies seeks to shine a light on what we corporally share, as much as what we individually hold true to.
Bringing together work by artistic duo Kathryn Cutler-MacKenzie and Ben Caro, poet Emily Swettenham, writer and poet Elodie Rose Barnes, author Ayo Deforge, writer and researcher Georgia Poplett, writer and poet Rojbîn Arjen Yigit, writer and researcher Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou and many others, as well as interviews with and reviews of work by Elinor Cleghorn, Lucia Osbourne Crowley and Alice Hattrick, Lucy Writers brings together individual stories of what our bodies have endured, carried, suffered, surpassed, craved and even enjoyed, because…these bodies are my body; we are a many bodied being. Touch this one, you move them all, our bodies’ body.
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Featured image: A mirrorical return, 1998 by Richard Hamilton under fair use