Emilie Collyer lives on Wurundjeri land, where she writes across and between poetry, plays and prose. Her writing has appeared most recently in The Blue Nib, The Ekphrastic Review, Rabbit, TEXT, Australian Poetry Journal, Imagined Theatres, Witness Performance and Cordite. She received a 2020 Varuna Publication Introduction Fellowship with Giramondo Publishing. Award-winning and nominated plays include Super Perfect, Contest, Dream Home and The Good Girl. Emilie also works as a dramaturg and text consultant. She is a PhD candidate in creative writing at RMIT, researching feminist creative practice.

Other Utterances

Transformational possibilities of poetry in performance

In this paper I examine three recent performance works where poetic language has been extended beyond words to evoke the body in unusual, speculative and potentially transformative ways. The works I will reference are: The Howling Girls (2018), an opera by Adena Jacobs and Damien Ricketson; Speechless (2019), an opera created by Cat Hope; and a series of participatory performances by Catherine Clover. The works all have in common a goal to push poetic language to extreme or unusual places as a way to explore subjects such as loss, trauma and fear, but also possibility, transformation and renewal. The paper will analyse techniques used by the artists; discuss the impact and effect of the various approaches; and argue for the way performance works are uniquely placed to employ poetic language in this way.

Keywords: poetry; performance writing; poetic language