Encounter an ecopoetics of entanglement with bacterial and microbial worlds.
When artist Sarah Craske found a 300 year-old copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in a junk shop, her mind was on its microbial – rather than financial – value. Working with scientists she exhibited the manuscript alongside the bacteria of its previous owners, carried by the book’s pages through the centuries. Craske’s observation that each book has its own microbiome introduces the broader question of where and how the writing and reading of poetry meets with microbial life. While much poetry has been historically concerned with ‘Nature’, positioning animal, mineral and vegetal life outside of the human, what does it mean to turn our attention and imagination to inner ecologies such as gut flora, or the (mostly) unseen bacterial worlds surrounding us, and on which we depend?
In this class we’ll look at examples by poets already writing with regard to these questions – such as Eleni Sikelianos, Katherine Larson and Jorie Graham – and, through a series of exercises, explore how bacterial processes and forms of relation might be used to compose and decompose modes of writing.
Daisy Lafarge is a writer, artist and editor based in Edinburgh. A pamphlet, understudies for air, was published by Sad Press in 2017 and selected as a book of the year by the White Review and the Poetry School. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2017 and was runner-up in the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Daisy is currently writing about animals and diseases at the University of Glasgow.
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