‘Speaking, writing, and discoursing are not mere acts of communication; they are above all acts of compulsion. Please follow me. Trust me, for deep feeling and understanding require total commitment.’ — Trinh T Minh-ha

 

‘If we look at the process of “understanding” beings and ideas as it operates in western society, we find that it is founded on an insistence on this kind of transparency. In order to “understand” and therefore accept you, I must reduce your density to this scale of conceptual measurement which gives me a basis for comparisons and perhaps for judgements.’ — Edouard Glissant

 

 

The induction/introduction 

 

We often feel distressed and — after our pain subsides — disappointed with how the condition of psychosis and people experiencing the schizophrenia spectrum have been used in writing. The guise of ‘understanding’ illness provides cover for morbid, controlling curiosities that play into sensationalised and market-driven entertainment. We search for a detour, unsure if there is another way. We as the authors of this work also acknowledge our complicity in the value-adding cycle — and so — this is an attempt to return to and concentrate on the ethics of our representations.

 

‘Who am I?’ is a different question from ‘who are we?’ The individual identities and lonelinesses in our exchanges have been blurred. Who speaks and who responds is realigned and misaligned. We break our lines with the hope for this utterance to unlock rather than latch. Or affirm. Yet — though we blur — it would be antithetical to publish this piece anonymously. As two people who happen to read/write/live inextricably with the matters explored across these lines — we take responsibility for our urges to produce and perform our expressions through this exchange.

 

We have attempted to ensure that the individuals referred to within this exchange are not reduced to dominant diagnostic and social scripts. In the process of writing we find no system of representation contains their/our/these experiences. For instance, the concept of ‘episode’ seems a strained and ineffective narratorial device, inaccurately suggesting emplotment. Experience is neither sequential nor isolated. Yet the episode persists even as we try to relate in another way. We search for another way of expressing, all the while with our old books and tongues and the adamance that our perceptions of who we love and care for should not be central — ours is a secondary experience. It is a painful and loving privilege even to reflect and write about such subject matters. We are aware of our intentionality. And we observe our intentions to render openness and reject simplification slips, resists and snares on the lines. They thicken and become something else, unintended and unknown.

 

You are given the opportunity to read, reject and absorb as you will. We ask that you consider your desire to understand. Like Trinh T Minh-ha, we ask for deep feeling. Like Edouard Glissant, we demand the right to opacity.

 

 

The foreword/forewarning

 

On creating discourse, I’ll just start —

We’re not really given a choice

where/when we begin our lives & I feel

this connection when beginning

weighted conversations —

there’s a strain to lift or to push down

or against & this means there will

be leakage, like pressing lilies

between a discarded phone book

without removing the stamen

& yet why must I feel that there’s a heaviness

when I understand that me writing

to you is an attempt to ease & alleviate —

 

It’s like the train that shakes the walls

of my mum’s — she’s poor

so there’s the freight train

& she lives alone.

 

I read this nod, nod, nodding. Thank you

for these problems. Yes — what little choice

we have when beginning these exchanges

& the awful tendency to do this is actually the reason

I started therapy in the first place. My first

appointment was about ten years ago, eleven

years ago.

 

I remember when we were talking the last

time we saw each other —

we wanted to work out a kind of way

in which we discourse on the roles

of psychosis, of violence, of trauma

& the ways they are & aren’t represented

in dominant modes of narrative, to rewrite

or reshape as a challenge, as a procedure of ethics

to open rather than to close & yet such

alternative perspectives have been sensed

from our own piercing angles of reality —

There’s a return to the subjective & the who

speaks on behalf of or for — like a drop earring

there is a dangling —

 

Scared of mishandling the actuality

because it’s more than a truth

the figure of the I leans so much

when italicised — like a slash / & a slash

can be vicious or instructive like separating

the features of a text — or the physical

body — so perhaps for the love

of Barthes & for the love of our subjects

we rely on ‘the I, in order to stage an

utterance, not an analysis.’

 

 

The from/form

 

We are now the I & the / within

this script & this text holds our voices.

In ‘The Gender of Sound’, Anne Carson

writes: ‘There is the haunting garrulity

of the nymph Echo’ who Carson details

‘is described by Sophokles as “the girl with no door

on her mouth”’ placing ‘a door on the female mouth

has been an important project of patriarchal culture

from antiquity to the present day. Its chief tactic

is an ideological association of female sound

with monstrosity, disorder and death.’

 

Your voice reading a line from your poem,

‘History of the Philosophy of Colour’ often

reverberates — especially when I’m confronted

with having to legitimise myself so I say in my head

in your voice: ‘say it in a big loud voice’ & I ask  

how is it that poetry allows your voice

to be louder than any other form?

 

Yet poetry has never felt like a passion — more

like a necessity — but is this just a trick & perhaps

what Clarice Lispector meant in The Passion According

to GH when she wrote: ‘I’m searching, I’m

searching. I’m trying to understand. Trying to give

what I’ve lived to somebody else and I don’t know

to whom, but I don’t want to keep what I lived.

I don’t know what to do with what I lived,

I’m afraid of that profound disorder.’

 

So there was this sense of a medical emergency.

But I think now I was kind of gaslighting myself —

like an old fluorescent at the chemist warehouse

& they were so understanding when I explained

what happened when the medication ran out

& there was some magical thinking in that idea

that because I’d so recently written & then published

about such a private matter — one which is not

entirely or properly mine to use in writing,

that I had summoned the illness back.

 

The interesting thing about mental illness

is that ultimately, it isn’t that interesting.

Or rather, there never really seems

to be anything to say about it. Or rather I fear

I make it interesting or I make it up. I remember

telling the story about the voices & the getting

up from the carpet with my legs to drive her

at fourteen & seeing the guy’s tears well

as I told this story in bed on a Sydney afternoon

& I was bored but scared & I remember reading

Elizabeth Bishop — I’ll look up the quote

properly later, it’s so perfect — she wrote

that one day her mother went mad & was placed

in an asylum & that’s all there is to say about that.

 

I know this quote is somewhere —

I think we need this quote & I’ll keep looking.

But then I don’t care if I don’t find it. What

if I don’t find it? The desire to seek is one

of ownership & I want to reject it — yet I keep

searching & it’s felt in the strokes

of Mari L'Esperance’s ‘Finding My Mother’:

‘Near dusk I find her in a newly mown field, lying still

and face down in the coarse stubble. Her arms

 

are splayed out on either side of her body, palms open

and turned upward like two lilies, the slender fingers

 

gently curling, as if holding onto something.’

 

This twists into a story by Bishop — do you know ‘In the Village’?

It begins: ‘A scream, the echo of a scream,

hangs over that Nova Scotian village.’

It continues: ‘Because in Boston she had not got any better,

in months and months — or had it been a year?

In spite of the doctors, in spite of the frightening

expenses, she had not got any better.’

It continues: ‘First, she had come home, with her child.

Then she had gone away again, alone,

and left the child. Then she had come home.

Then she had gone away again,

with her sister; and now she was home again.’

There is a fire at the neighbour’s barn.

Everyone seems cheerful, ‘but the smell

of burned hay is awful, sickening’

It continues: ‘The front room is empty.

Nobody sleeps there. Clothes are hung there.’

 

Our shrieks dangle over that pause, the one

that you’re given when you describe your own

account with what you’re living. When this description

takes place outside of a film, or poem, or song,

there’s always a stretched intermission —

the unchosen separation between representation

& reality — a messy play & I’ve lost my lines.

 

So the first thing I’ll say is that I never discuss

my direct experience with serious mental illness,

although it could easily go down the definitive

story of my childhood. I just frame it. I just allude.

She loved Tennyson. ‘Break, break, break,’

it’s so eerie that in the ten or so

years that I’ve been in therapy that it’s only

occurred to me to talk about my mum a few times,

& rarely, as far as I’m aware, using the terminology

of clinical psychiatry — which is such a limited perspective.

I am garrulous in analysis. Word-play perfect. I talk

about my father. I want to be liked.

 

The front room of her house is empty. Nobody sleeps

there. Though clothes are neatly hung in the wardrobe

on wire yet-sturdy hangers. I’ve slept in that room

for three months — across the hall from the bed

where it all occurred. But the front room is empty

again & the clothes are now too small. For a long time

my mum was very, very sick & very much being

understood in a clinical setting when I was growing

up. As far as I know there is no family embargo

on the topic, but the way events unfolded were/are

so messy & traumatic that I think there’s a reluctance

to go back to that time for fear of, I’m not sure what

but in any case, the reluctance —

my sister & me had to live at my uncle’s

& where were our clothes?

To go back has partly informed the basis for my feeling

that this is a family secret & this is why I can’t understand

why some can so readily write about such circumstances?

 

I never really wrote about my mother’s colossal

breakdown until last summer which is the time of psychosis

& drives & drawn out conclusions. ‘What are you thinking about?’

asks the opening line of Jack Spicer’s ‘Psychoanalysis: An Elegy’

after which a desire is expressed towrite a poem that is slow as a summer

As slow getting started.’

 

A ground floor bedroom at the Fremantle YMCA.

A folded shirt in a blue plastic tub.

System six. As clean as a summer —

 

That old friend was visiting Perth late last year

& sent me a photo of a landmark she was standing

in front of while she was waiting to meet her dad.

The landmark was London Court — basically

a colonial arcade with a big clock facade, built by

goldrush settlers in Western Australia.

The photo jolted something in me & I went & I wrote —

in the cleanest way — my first & only writing

about my mum & madness & how this subject

isn’t a subject to write about — it’s an actuality.

I made it a clock.

 

 

The holding/handling

 

The veracity of a reality enforces limitations

when it comes to expressions — no matter the form.

Perhaps our interchange will turn to something

that we desire as a form of alleviation —

possibly the pangs of hope we share might allow

for what is ineffable — is this what we want?

Is there a want in/out of any of this?

 

It’s not fair for me to force my hand onto yours

as I turn towards you — it’s an act that’s inevitably

about me — about my want to touch

you as a palpable act of reassurance

that I’m listening — but I should just be

absorbing, should just be processing

& I am — but I also desire to demonstrate

perhaps as means of self-validation

within this act of reciprocity —

 

‘left hand, right hand

like an open eye, an eye closed:

 

one hand flat against the trapdoor,

the other hand knocking, knocking.’ I clench

these words of Aracelis Girmay’s from the poem

‘Consider the Hands that Write this Letter’.

 

I compressed the poem, ‘London Court’

for publication during a time my mum was staying

with my son & me in Melbourne & then the worst

thing happened — her flight home was cancelled,

& she couldn’t get another one for a few days.

Two days into her extended stay she took me aside

to tell me she’d run out of her medication

& then — it was like she was suddenly having another

colossal episode. ‘Like’, precisely in the sense

that I was backlighting everything she was saying

& doing with the questions: ‘is she acting any

differently?’ & ‘oh no, has she lost it?’

 

I needed confirmation about what I saw

when the chair spun around —

validation that the same thing isn’t happening

to me — but why —

why must I always return to myself?

 

It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful, & it’s beautiful.

I keep thinking this as I read over your words

& I can see your face & I want to reach out & hold

your hand — but this is a tired gesture & even

so — this impulse isn’t fair because there are no gloves

& the wounds on my fingers are seeping into your skin.

 

Her hands often shake, not her fingers but her hands.

 

 

The rising/rinsing

 

I wrote down that ‘figures rule the world’

because there was something you inscribed

in your letter about things not adding up.

Goethe doesn’t add up.

Or am I just envious of Young Werther when

he writes: ‘How happy I am that I am gone!’

 

I remember talking with a friend who had just

had a friend diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

We were sitting on the carpet & the softness

incited how empty the house seemed. ‘I hate it’

she said. ‘I hate schizophrenia. It’s so boring & horrible.’

I remember just shaking my head, sighing, totally

agreeing. Yes. I smiled. A monster. I hate schizophrenia.

Again it felt like such a taboo, or that by speaking

so irreverently we were summoning something — seductive

other than the fibres we felt against our thighs.

 

There had been a family lunch & after all the sandwiches

had been eaten my Aunty took this as cue to stand

up & wash the meal dishes. I helped

her by drying cutlery with a damp towel. I asked how things were

& she answered softly against the clanging of the plates,

the towel becoming heavier, she spoke about

her son/my cousin & how she hated the process

of signing in her name each time she visited

him in forensic prison. She couldn’t comprehend how

the action of her signature made any difference,

as if the obligation for her to scrawl

her name down on paper equalled a form of

responsibility — that as a mother

she was really the mechanism at fault upon

which she signed her name & address against.

 

What do they do with all of the signed

paper slips? Bishop wrote of slips

& surfaces: ‘The address of the sanatorium

is in my grandmother’s handwriting, in purple

indelible pencil. On smoothed-out wrapping paper.

It will never come off.’

 

 

The solitary/solidarity

 

I’m sitting with my sister & Aunty — we wait for

the time of 1:45pm, visiting hours, there’s a buzz

& a heavy door is pushed open by a nurse & security

guard — we must pass through a grey frame

which is a metal detector — this metal detector is both

an entry & an exit — I feel it would be tactless

to describe the security metal detector as a portal

because this isn’t a threshold or indication

of any poetic or imaginative possibility.

This is a security metal detector: a surveillance machine.

There are two little girls wearing floral dresses

& mary jane sandals. They’re dressed

to demonstrate that their visit marks a special

occasion. I am also a visitor. All of the visitors

in the waiting room enact their own

surveillance as the two little girls, laughing

because they know they’re being watched,

enter the security metal detector: they pass through.

 

I’m at work today & one of my tasks is to amend

an article for publication. It’s so boring & horrible.

One of the editors complained there were too many passive

sentences in the work. I was surprised looking

at how strange my sentences were.

So archaic & twisted, avoidant. Of action

I felt ‘I lost my mother’s watch’ like in Bishop’s

‘One Art’. I can’t remember where I was when I originally

wrote this article — I’m curious about the beginning of

my errors. It’s that

I read all this passive voice as a sign of trepidation —

dread writing is summoning, brightly bringing about.

 

Do you know that James Joyce story

‘The Little Cloud’? It’s all about passivity & timidity,

those awful afflictions that oddly seem to take

you nowhere & everywhere. I think there’s a restriction

on what I write about. Something that won’t be spoken.

An eye roll. An old woman breathing. I love the passive

voice, how it isn’t allowed. But it keeps lining up

sometimes choking. I can’t ask for permission, but

I can choke & not write this, ‘the following fact,

which in turn destroys a content as

yet unwritten: I don’t exist’, Bhanu Kapil’s deletion

& snow, Schizophrene.

 

I spoke to my cousin on the phone

today — I stood outside on the grass

& he sat in a chair inside

a temperature-controlled room.

I confessed this discussion & he gave

me his permission for us to refer

to him within this exchange.

I must not take advantage of this generosity.

But I believe I’ve already done this

& what about my Aunty? There’s still

a restriction which is necessary

& I’m trying to be respectful towards

the people I love — but most days

my body shakes with the weight of disguise.

Susan Sontag writes that we live in ‘A culture

in which shock has become a leading stimulus

of consumption and source of value.’

 

I was reading Sontag’s Regarding the Pain

of Others when my cousin had his episode,

this book was perhaps one of the things

which sustained me the most as the media

publicity & false reportages concerning

my family complicated our process

of grief & acceptance. Nobody, aside

from my family & few friends, could actually

hear or see me. People just wanted

to know the details & so did I —

Sometimes I would/do answer questions, even

revel in the attention, not because it alleviates

but because I’m performing instead of

as Adrienne Rich writes in ‘Trying to Talk to A Man’

being in a position where you’re discussing

about how people care ‘for each other

in emergencies — laceration, thirst’ but instead

you are gazed at ‘like an emergency’.

 

For me — there’s an inseparable connection

between writing & my cousin’s episode

as he expressed his delusions through

poetry. He now expresses his recovery

through poetry. We write poetry to each other.

My cousin is a poet & he writes about the ocean.

 

We send our poetry in letters —

mine are opened

before he is allowed to read them —

My latest letter quoted H.D.

‘more precious

than a wet rose

single on a stem —

you are caught in the drift.’

 

The night that my cousin had his major episode

he published a poem about his visions

in an obscure online chat room.

I know this because he told

my sister about the poem when she visited

him. I wanted to visit him too —

but there was no room for me in the car

that day & since my sister & cousin are closer in age,

my Aunty thought it best that she go rather than me.

 

A role reversal we both hadn’t experienced —

 

 

The features/fractures

 

In fact the poem doesn’t really do anything, it undoes

all the marriages to husbands by counting them all,

& everything counts & everything loses its name.

My poem hates fiction. But my poem full

of pastiches & borrowings thinks about how

accommodating it is, form & take all

you can give these other voices — listen

or compress or amplify your own. If you have one.

A voices. Is it fiction, diagnosis?

 

I read Joyce’s ‘A Little Cloud’ outside tonight

at my mum’s house. Everyone had gone to bed

& I was alone, except for two possums,

many spiders & insects. I sat outside & only moved

in once I was cold, dearest ‘Little Chandler’.

I relate to the character most particularly with these lines:

‘Could he write something original? He was not sure

what idea he wished to express, but the thought

that a poetic moment had touched him took

life within him like an infant hope. He stepped onward bravely.’

 

To turn back to the lines —

‘Everything gets crazy. When nude

I turned my back because he likes the back.

He moved onto me’ writes Anne Carson in ‘The Glass Essay’.

& they say the trauma around losing

my mother is linked to my braving attachment

in other immature, insecure, destructive

& compulsive ways, but are there other ways?

Whenever my therapist surmises I get annoyed & accuse

him of rationalising my dishonourable, appalling behaviour —

 

I asked my therapist today: ‘but hasn’t everyone lost their mother?’

& he gave me a look & said: ‘but not like this.’ Screaming at

airports. Or softly typing this on the plane. But there’s so much

I haven’t responded to & I want to trace back —

 

 

The breech/breach

 

Ever since reading Barbara Guest’s poem ‘20’ I’ve been

thrust to a sharpness & now it’s all dashes —

‘Each episode is important

that’s what it is! Sequences —

I’ve got going a twenty-act drama

the theatre of the active

the critics are surely there

even the actors’.

 

But you can see the sunset from any balcony

whether rented or owned — who is this set really for?

Detract all personal detail with line breaks

because this scene will ‘jut

when embedded into narrative’.

 

What comes through in writing is this guilt

about understanding the act

of making the pain of others my

own — I am so possessive it seems

that when suffering is near me nod nod nodding

I just go for it, grasp it, take it. Simone Weil was like this

terribly understanding & close: ‘the ones who do

the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed

who feels what is happening.’ Simone closes & activates.

Someone close went ‘crazy’ — so the first question

& perhaps indeed the final question,

is ‘and me too?’ & I think this happens

precisely because we can’t answer the deeper

question: ‘why?’ & I think we don’t like to stop asking

this question though it has nothing to do with

living or failing to live. I have not written about

my mother, once again. Once again — so close

I have made a cake & it is rich although dry &

there are always dishes to do & it is always their birthday.

 

The way that reading enacts

a consumption that dogs & separates the writer

from their own words. I guess there are positive

& negatives to this, but what happens when you know

the writer & care about them & want so much to reassure

them & say: ‘it’s ok. It’s not your fault & you’re not a bad person.’

You are doing your best — it’s the best that you can do.

‘Life is hell, but at least there are prizes’ writes

Janet Frame — you must adapt to ‘take one’s own deserved

place on the edge, reading to leap,

not to hang back in a status-free huddle where bodies

were warm together’. But where is my prize?

My cake? Where is my fruitcake?

 

She said over the phone: ‘I was going to ring

but I didn’t want to haunt you’ —

In her book Eros the Bittersweet in Carson writes: ‘The words we

read and words we write never say exactly

what we mean. The people we love are never just

as we desire them. The two symbols

never perfectly match. Eros is in between.’

 

In the same text, Carson continues: ‘There is something

pure and indubitable about the notion that eros is lack’

Are the discussions of our experiences demonstrating a lack?

& inform the eros of understanding illness. We love & yet

can’t wait to leave & get to the airport an hour early.

 

Twenty sequences towards Guest: ‘What an idiotic number!

Sleep is twenty’. This haunting age & figure —

twenty stabs into his father’s body. Glass vases

filled with ‘flowers clicking twenty times

because they like to repeat themselves.’

 

In The Powers of Horror Julia Kristeva writes: ‘The shame

of compromise, of being in the middle of treachery.

The fascinated start that leads me toward and separates

me from them.’ This is us.

We are both separate & connected by shame & desire.

 

The first time I visited my cousin in forensic

prison I told him the that forest-green uniform

complemented his green eyes. It was a monstrous expression

all I could do after this was mouthful the hot chocolate

made & stirred by a man also preparing himself

to transition back into society after being

withheld for more than a decade.

 

Then I leave again. It takes a year. I place the chocolate

cake on the counter near the kettle. I look back

& its soft reused plastic bag contains it.

Because she wrapped it.

 

The kitchen is empty. It spans the grey gaslight.

The entrance contains photographs. The poem

contains birds. She stands under the mobile, it spins

from a hook in the ceiling. Paper swifts circle

her smiling grey head. I see them crowning her

indubitably drawn to the cake. Glazed fruitcake.

 

The problems

seem to be syntactical

rather than thematic —

the way breaking down her door

created difficulties with her landlord.

 

Let’s stay in touch. I was born

thirty-seven years ago — it’s true

it’s been reported in a newspaper,

a poster, a flyer on the wall. I was on television.

 

All of the faces were screened for the breaking

news & I was very concerned, so I tried to contact

all of the editors by calling all of the phone numbers.

They promised to write down my name & record

my words — but they never quoted

& so because of this I incite Lisa Robertson:

‘my work shall be obscure

as Love! unlinguistic! I

bludgeon the poem with desire

and stupidity’ — it scares me when I read/express

language which conjures violence & yet I’m forced

to abide by the term ‘landlord’. Figures.

 

You already love me. Figures rule the world — well,

& badly — well & wells are like clocks.

Mistakes are watched & clocked & my mother used to say:

‘can’t help it’ whenever I apologised & I still love

that she never used a subject. Swift twist of gold

around a wrist. Distraction doesn’t diminish the sense

someone’s leaving. But someone usually leaves

a room & they usually glance back or sideways or at the birds

on the ceiling or they leave for good —

unwrapping the cake in their lap with cunning & grace

& in contrast, mistaken or not — someone usually stays

just like the illness. Postures more than understands. Ponders

more than understands. Ponders an attitude, let’s stay

in touch. I live in System six. Can’t help it. You love me.

 

Just a trace. Just a touch, a card — say just. Just say.

Open the card. Nothing is written there. No one can write it.

Open the card on the plane you take to leave.

An endpoint or a climax. Do you wish for one?

We are not writers of fiction & prose will not save

any of us or poetry.

Perhaps instead try acting everywhere like a verb,

throw sets & scenes & just

sum it up — the world is breaking lines

she softly opens the card & twists into the breach — 

 

 

A Note:

We have enacted adjustments to the lineation to some of the citations included in this exchange. Such alternations are not intended merely to conform the writing of others into our chosen poetics — but for the sake of offering and opening up previously written ideas within the specific context of this exchange which for us could/can only occur within a form where lines are broken and fractured so as to leak out spills of new thoughts/understandings.

 

Works cited: 

 

Barthes, R 1978 A lover's discourse: Fragments (trans Richard Howard), New York: Hill and Wang

Bishop, E 1991 ‘One art’, in Complete poems, London: Chatto & Windus, p. 178

Bishop, E 2011 ‘In the village’, in Prose, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, pp. 62–78

Carson, A 1986 Eros the bitter sweet, Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press

Carson, A 1995 ‘The glass essay’ (pp. 1–38), and ‘The gender of sound’ (pp. 119–37), in Glass, irony & God, New York: New Directions

Frame, J 2009 ‘Prizes’, in The selected stories of Janet Frame, Berkeley: Counterpoint

Girmay, A 2007 ‘Consider the hands that write this letter’, in Teeth: Poems, Evanston, Curbstone Books, p. 38

Glissant, E 1997 The poetics of relation (trans Betsy Wing), Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

Goethe, JW von 1984 ‘Sunday, January 31 1830’, in Conversations with Eckermann (trans John Oxenford), San Francisco: North Point, p. 346

Goethe, JW von 1989 The sorrows of Young Werther (trans Michael Hulse), London: Penguin

Guest, B 2008 ‘20’, in The collected poems of Barbara Guest, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, pp. 83–84

H. D. 1988 ‘Sea rose’ in H.D.: Selected Poems (ed. Louis L Martz), New York, New Directions, p. 3

Joyce, J 2000 ‘A little cloud’, in Dubliners, London: Penguin, pp. 65–81

Kapil, B 2011 Schizophrene, New York: Nightboat Books

Kristeva, J 1982 The powers of horror: An essay on abjection (trans Leon S Roudiez), New York: Columbia University Press

L'Esperance, M 2008 ‘Finding my mother’, in The darkened temple, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pp. 39–40

Lispector, C 1988 The passion according to GH (trans Ronald W Sousa), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Minh-ha, TT 1989 Woman, native, other: Writing postcoloniality and feminism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press

Rich, A 1973 ‘Trying to talk with a man’, in Diving into the wreck: Poems 1971–1972, New York: Norton, pp. 3–4

Robertson, L 1997 Debbie: An epic, Vancouver: New Star Books

Royal, A 2017 ‘Speaking Camellia’, in Red Room Poetry, https://redroomcompany.org/poem/autumn-royal/speaking-camellia/

Sontag, S 2011 Regarding the pain of others, London: Penguin Books

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Van, L 2017 ‘London Court’, in Suburban poetry review (February),
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Weil, S 1978 Lectures on philosophy (trans Hugh Price), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press