Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. Women's Studies. The poetic worlds of Michael Field are as surprising and inventive, as formally rigorous, and as deeply felt and lived as when they were composed over a century ago. The expansive selection of poems presented here spans Field's thirty-year career and a wide range of formal gambits and registers, from erotic reconstructions of Sapphic verse fragments and ekphrastic reveries over Grand Tour oil paintings to theologically freighted odes, sonnets of rural retirement, and elegies to their beloved pet Chow Chow. With a new biographical essay by the editors and an inviting foreword by Stacy Szymaszek to ground the work in our contemporary moment, this volume brings the unorthodox lives and vital, protean writing of Michael Field—as lovers, collaborators, experimenters in poetic form, aesthetic community, and queer kinship—to a new audience.
"Field’s work is organized around body logic, experience, making a spectacle of one’s own life, beauty and giving pleasure. In the grips of our current political disaster, it may not carry a lot of weight to think one’s work is important for such things. Yet work that excites my mind-body helps remind me that I am an erotic being. When I proceed through life as my best erotic self, I am harder for the law to control. When I am harder for the law to control, i.e., making a spectacle of myself, others can see me. There is always the hope that Emily Dickinson expressed: 'Are you nobody too?' I step out of convention for community, and that action is the enemy of fascism."—from the forward by Stacy Szymaszek
"Michael Field" was the shared pseudonym of Katherine Bradley (1846-1914) and her niece Edith Cooper (1862- 1913), who lived together as lovers and collaboratively wrote some eight volumes of poetry and twenty-seven plays. Their poetry enjoyed both popular and critical success until their friend, the poet Robert Browning, let slip Field's true identity: in the milieu of Victorian letters, the work of women writers (and "especially collaborators, spinsters, and lesbians," as biographer Emma Donoghue puts it) was still relegated to a second class. While their early poetry displays strong aestheticist currents both formally and thematically, their later poems incorporate an eclectic mix of Symbolism and Catholic spirituality without ever straying from an idiosyncratic style that is at once extravagantly precise and profoundly sensuous.
Author City: Reigate UNK