Stages and rationale of Selfheal
The layout of the text corresponds to the distribution of selfheal, Prunella vulgaris in a quadrat count in my back garden in Sheffield. Most gardens in this city are still laid to lawn, despite it not being the most effective way to encourage wildlife. Selfheal can be a common sight amongst the grass blades, particularly on low-mowed lawns, where it can form carpets.
I conducted a quadrat count in a random section in my garden (0.5 x 0.5m) of the selfheal plant population with particular emphasis on the pattern within each of the squares in the quadrat. Due to the compact nature of the carpet, the basal rosettes were included in the pattern recordings. The data collected was added to a digital table, and after several stages the text was added to the cells to match the distribution of selfheal to the letter in the area surveyed.
Prunella vulgaris can be considered an invasive species despite its qualities, both aspects being explored in my poem. The riddle of reading the broken-up text mirrors the process of the quadrat count, during which particular attention was paid to the placement of individual specimens in order to establish the pattern with the greatest accuracy.
Veronica Fibisan is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Sheffield and ASLE-UKI Postgraduate Representative. Her areas of interest include ecocriticism, ecofeminism, coastal radical landscape poetry and blue humanities. Her research is a practice-based creative and critical project that focuses on key locations on the UK shoreline. She has published poetry notably in The Sheffield Anthology (Smith/ Doorstop, 2012), Cast: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets (Smith/ Doorstop, 2014), Plumwood Mountain Journal (4.1), the Wretched Strangers Anthology (Boiler House Press, 2018), and PAN (2019).