How have we mourned in the absence of gathering?

Sandra Guerreiro

 

As a poet, I have mourned the absence of gathering, in its traditional sense, through a reshift of creative focus, insofar as the minutiae of the domestic realm have been zoomed into and emphasised. Because time allowed for writing in the Pause. Domesticity, the observance of the object and its indentation on the space, the redirecting of one’s gaze onto the minuscule details of the object, the incidence of light on that space. Then, the physical stepping back to better focus and the parallel mental stepping back and looking at the broader inscription of the human in its environment and the drastic consequences that human indentation has had for nature. This pandemic has opened wide and almost through a whooshing movement what was already in motion, just way less accelerated. How all feels more devastating due to the speed of the unfolding of events and how unprepared societal western neoliberal structures are. Structures that depend on the ill payed labour of keyworkers to survive while concomitantly having total disregard for the precarious working conditions that some migrants are faced with. Survival in limbo. Structures with no long-term investment plans in healthcare systems that are able to provide basic, safe, reliable and affordable services to their populations. The new arms race is now the race to vaccines. Lockdown provided time to recalibrate one’s thoughts regarding creative practice and the artist’s role in all of this.

The long look onto an object and its artistic handling in terms of ideas and concepts the object might evoke materialises, literally, when delving into collage. If poetry is added to the collage it is as if thought, touch and object become one morphed object for the viewer and morphed experience for the author.

Collage making reuses what already existed, minimising its ecological impact. It gives other meaning(s) and provides used materials a renewed existence, the perpetual act of becoming other. As language also does. Could collage and collage poetry provide a good example of nanopoetics?

 

 

Sandra Guerreiro participated in the International Meeting of Poets in 1998 and 2007 and was a member of the Creative Writing workshop Oficina de Poesia from 1998-2000 and 2004 to 2011 (University of Coimbra, Portugal). She attended the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo (New York, USA 2000-2004) where she also collaborated with Buffalo artists and activists. In 2012, she co-edited and published the literary magazine ANARKITEKTURA #1 (Coimbra, Portugal). She uses English and Portuguese, often combining both languages in the same poem. Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies in Portugal, Brazil, USA and Spain. Her first full-length poetry collection, Onde o Lugar | The Where Place, appeared in 2019, translated into English by UK poet Anna Reckin (Glaciar Editores, Lisbon). Guerreiro has also published translations of poetry in Portugal and Brazil. She moved to London in 2012 where she works with, and advocates for, secondary school students with special educational needs. For some of her work visit: https://anothertrickster.wordpress.com/.

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