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Poetry, like the body, moves through time and has the capacity to alter one’s perception of space. As a dancer and choreographer, I am suspicious of all things static: the static art object, the static interpretation, the supposed divide between body and mind. Much more real to me are the intermingling of physical sensation and knowledge, the polyphonic creation of meaning that passes centrally through the body, modulating the mind, as it drifts toward articulation. I attempt to write poems that hover in a space between location and perception, between the body and its surroundings, as if to merge subjective and objective domains, in order to induce a disorienting textual reality, an invitation to the reader to enter a subtle terrain where the body’s silent prerogatives frame the construction of thought. By blurring the distinction between the subject and its environment through an exploration of landscapes and roomscapes, I endeavor to ask why our sense of place is so susceptible to alteration or distortion, and why its defamiliarization might be so pleasurable.
Since moving from my hometown of Culver City, California to Annandale, I have been inadvertently exploring the relationship between self and place. Sensing a profound shift within my own consciousness, I have tried to articulate the strange, fugitive forms of personhood that arise from the landscape here, and those residual memories of California, which in re-imagining, seem to have taken on an intangible body of their own. I have become starkly aware of the discrepancy between the nostalgic, beachy, dream-like California of my memory, and the actual one that surrounds me whenever I take a trip home.
The poetry in these pages perhaps contains so much space, so much floating mystery and ungroundedness, not only because of my conviction that place and body merge at an unconscious level, but also because I understand the human body to possess the ability to create places unfettered by given notions of coherence – places that are always unfinished, slanting to one side, missing a shadow or two.
Perhaps I am merely using words to suggest experiences I never truly want to pinpoint, never want fully to contain or explain; the simple motion of circling around them in language carries for me its own particular pleasure.
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Hopfield, Madeline Gwenyth, "R O T A T I O N S" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 20.