Using examples taken from my own text and textile-based poetry, this essay demonstrates how an aesthetics of repair may suggest both restoration and fragility. The essay starts with a discussion of Tenter (2020) in which the ‘darned’ and repaired panels of the Bayeux Tapestry suggest a poetics with which to engage with post-war commemoration. In these poems, collage features as a repair strategy although the text demonstrates not all wounds can be healed. In Little red mouth (2020), an extended, contemporary poem based on the ancient Homeric Hymn to Demeter, I preserve the damaged manuscript of the original within my own text, stabilising the edges of the torn text through my use of poetic form but also exploring the significance of what has been torn away. The essay pursues the complexities of a repair aesthetic into a discussion of one of my recent, textile-based visual poems, Persephone (2021), and discovers that torn fabric may pose different questions to a damaged text. In the context of this piece, and of visual work by other artists, I discuss the importance of an aesthetics of repair which keeps visible traces of the often systemic violence which caused the original damage and acknowledges the fragility as well as the resilience of what has been harmed.
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