In this genre-bending debut Mariah Whelan tells the love story of ‘He’ and ‘She’. Once lovers and now… something else, in this collection of sonnets the poems roam across the UK, Europe, Japan and South Korea to explore the oldest of lyric subjects – love, desire, friendship and betrayal. By turns painful, playful and sensual these poems explore the bonds that tie lovers and friends together in a collection of startling formal energy and emotional candour.
the love i do to you is now available here and through all good book shops
The admirable achievement of Mariah Whelan’s the love i do to you lies not just in its page-turning fusion of lyrical poetics and dramatic narration, but in the moving power of its steady and intimate candour. Whelan’s transformative sense of scene – ‘your words like trolleys/half-submerged in the river-clay and weeds’ – is never less than compelling, its psychological alertness quietly propulsive from start to finish.
– Jane Draycott, author of THE OCCUPANT (Carcanet)
Mariah Whelan’s first book is a love affair going wrong in three different places, the UK, Japan and Korea: its protagonists only slowly learn about what they are doing to one another, and to themselves, but their sentimental education is grippingly told, its formal achievement as a sonnet sequence understated, and full of incidental pleasures, like the tuna which “wobbles on the blade, gelatinous with fish stink. / “Eat,” he said, the trails of connective tissue dangling.”
– John Mcauliffe, author of OF ALL PLACES (Gallery Press)
One of the outputs from the residency I completed at King’s College London back in July was the below gif poem.
The goal of the project was to combine my colleague’s deconstructive critique and my creative processes in order to explore the aesthetic construction of New Right politics.
Together, we worked on a number of texts taken from the online forum ‘reddit’.
What we found was that creative process can recover the ways in which speech acts such as the one below use aesthetics as much as politics as part of their rhetorical strategy.
Just look at the use of punctuation in the gif poem below. So much intentionality, so much desire is packed into that full stop. What the creative approach to the text allows is not simply an analysis of its function but a re-contextualisation of it within the gaze of the poem space. The redacted text disturbs the full-stop’s normal function of ending a sentence, instead placing it in the middle of available language. Doing so triggers a moment of shift and flicker. The poem is an artificial intervention in the original text and yet it exposes its inner workings. Doing so raises further questions about the relationship between language and ideas: a key preoccupation of original text itself.
Like a prism, the poem splits and doubles language, asking more questions than it offers answers. In doing so, however, implicating the reader within the drama of aesthetics, it opens up new ways of engaging with the tropes and motifs of New Right thought.
The poem will be on display at The Exchange Gallery, London until November 2019.
Gearing up for the launch of the love i do to you in November I’ll be doing a couple of readings over the coming weeks. On Wednesday I’ll be reading to students at The University of Manchester and on Sunday I’ve been invited to give a reading to students on the MSt in Creative Writing at The University of Oxford.
It’s here and I am absolutely in love with it. Yes, it’s the cover of my first ever solo publication the love i do you.
the love will be published officially in October (next month!) and I’ll be doing a fair few readings, workshops and other bits and bobs as she makes her way into the world so watch this space for more details!
Huge thanks to Admir and Jacob for featuring my poem ‘rip’ over at Slippage Lit. The poem explores the night of the Manchester Arena attacks in 2017 when I sat scrolling through facebook as news of the attack began to filter through from friends living on the other side of the city. For the full text click on the poem below.
I had a brilliant time at Beacon Festival back this June teaching poetry workshops to groups very different from my usual undergraduate students: kids!
I planned a really great session based around the senses as a starting point for a poem and we had some wonderful results which the students all read up on the Literary Tent stage.
One student in particular told me he hated writing so I suggested he draw his images instead and I was shocked to find that once he’s used art to generate his ideas, he then translated these into text quite easily. His mum was flabbergasted, too. It just goes to show how useful creative practice is for formulating ideas and helping children to access learning tasks. Shame the government aren’t catching on in their policy making!
Back in May, along with my fellow collaborators Dr Pablo de Orellana, Dr Christiana Spens and artist Tom de Freston, I spoke to the KCL War Studies Podcast team about the Truth Tellers. We talk about interdisciplinary approaches, trauma, our methodology and of course, all things unspeakable/silent/absent and how to put those into visual art and textual presence.