Elemental reactions spark a primal, protective dissolution and reformation of the female body, in this beautifully vivid poem by Liz MacWhirter.
Back at the (periodic) table, she understood: teardrops
could cause atomic explosion between kindred elements.
Dressed for dinner, she untethered. Unhooked. Scaled
symbols. Fingers forward, reached for the blue.
And were it not for the fission below, might have flown
clean away. Raining tears, she fell to a cochineal
desert. Considered why green is for envy when green
is a leaf sky, a wavering marram sea, a wild garlic
sward, a Primavera canvas: her gown of daisies
and roses sprouted ivy. Tendrils grew
into the ear and out from the mouth
sealed lips, blocked ears
About Liz MacWhirter
Liz MacWhirter is pursuing a creative practice PhD at the University of Glasgow, researching intersections between trauma theology, the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich and contemporary poetics through writing a hybrid verse novel. ‘Black Snow Falling’ (Scotland Street Press 2018), her debut novel, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019. ‘Blue: a lament for the sea’, a long verse narrative, was performed at Yale GCRE 2023 funded by the Yale Religion, Ecology and Expressive Culture Initiative, and at Hidden Door Arts Festival and Voice PG Conference 2022. Liz presented creative-critical papers at Yale GCRE, Mystical Theology Network Conference and Finncon ‘22. Her work has been recognised by funding from the University of Glasgow College of Arts Research Support Awards and CSCS Seedcorn Funding, Publishing Scotland and Creative Scotland. Previously, Liz won 20 creative awards for originality and impact as a copywriter. Liz is a Scottish Book Trust Live Literature Author.
This poem was submitted for 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.
We also welcome pitches and contributions from writers, artists, film-makers and researchers outside of the Lucy Writers’ community. Please inquire for book reviews too.
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Feature image: Christian Widell on Unsplash