Insects & miniature works

It’s an honour to be travelling to Uppsala University at the end of October to explore possibilities around short works, biodiversity and climate change. I’ll be taking part in a range of workshops and meetings, including a day-long day gathering with a school called HOME in Östervåla, hosted Anna Björkman and Dougald Hine.

The following day, I’ll be sharing some of my new work on insects at Uppsala University, in a roundtable organised by the wonderful Sofia Ahlberg.

I’ve been writing a lot about insects recently, thinking particularly about the challenges of exploring grief in relation to the loss of a species. Some of the questions I’ve been working through in writing these poems include:

– how to push towards an adequate language to acknowledge species decline or loss, and the limits of elegy

– the image of the last individual (the endling) – as a way into understanding and feeling the loss or decline of a species but also acknowledging this as a romantic trope that cannot do justice to the situation, particularly in terms of scale and uncertainty (about identifying, in fact, the ‘last’ of a species)

– how to indicate and honour the miniature world of insects without sentimentalising the language (through the use of ‘little/ tiny’ etc)

– the role of empathy, the otherness of insects, the possibilities of connecting with life’s minute representatives

We’ll be discussing these issues, and many more, at Uppsala University, and a sequence of the insect poems will be out soon in The London Magazine.

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