Our Emotional Archaeology writer-in-residence Katrina Naomi shares some work-in-progress.
The photographs above were taken from the notebooks Katrina wrote in during her first week at Arnolfini, writing in response to Daphne Wright's exhibition (you can read more about her experiences here).
From these initial notes, the poem Spared began to take shape. It takes references to Domestic Shrubbery [pictured], the sculptural installation in Gallery 4, and weaves them in to an ambivalent visioning of romance.
The latest version of the poem is here:
I have found seven hearts
lost one found six more They hang
like Xmas decs on a wedding tree so much bad
wallpaper And I’m unsure
if I’m indoors or out
The trellis shifts
for some unseen bird that comes
like a suitor
not one you’ll welcome
if you know what I know
A normal asylum then this
a century of roses and killer-birds
all too ready to tip breathing hearts
from the nest for these are the rules
of marriage Such a common
wisdom caught on a white rose briar So brittle
this pale domesticity I could snap
your wishbone White crowds
a room walls unable to march
back or forth And so many choose
this space where all ties are
severed for the ice and snow
of love its crazed pattern
of fracture and fall
Every girl’s dream for a veil
to render her beautiful as we fail
to look a suitor in the face
for we have been sold Nothing
here is straight We see shadows
of ourselves the door slowly barred
with so much love There is no such thing
as claustrophobia Trust me
I am perfectly safe here can only hear
one bird the killer-bird out of season
its suitor voice plays
to all the seasons of my life
an extreme bird then a favourite
yet you will not find her
among the neon lights of sky
for I am one to have been
All of these drafts can be viewed in our Reading Room, along with some of Katrina's recent publications.
Katrina Naomi will be presenting her work in person at Arnolfini on Saturday 3 December.
Our next writer-in-residence will be in position between January and March next year. This will be hosted in collaboration with Spike Island as part of the Art Writing Programme curated by The Art Writer's Group.
Check our website for future opportunities for writers-in-residence.