Laura Gonzalez


15 Dec 2014

Collected Poems by Philip Larkin***


Reading dates: 27 July – 13 December 2014

Neil and I read this book together, aloud and to each other, before our daily Pride and Prejudice chapter. No, no, no. This order did not work as Larkin, for all his sins, sent us to a particular universe of bleakness, social observations, impossible loves and thoughts of death. How could I take Darcy and Elizabeth seriously after that? The result of this experiment is that, after we finish Austen’s novel, we will only read poetry to each other, and novels by ourselves.

I love Larkin’s work, but it had such a profound effect in me, I am not sure I can muster a higher rating. He gave me nightmares, made me want to cry, made me feel those ripples in the skin I get when I try to imagine what it is like to be dead. All this in precise language and interesting punctuation. I think he taught me how to read poetry aloud, how to dance the words in my mouth. Ah, dance … there are lots of poems about dance in this book … like the one below, aptly unfinished … I love dancing but Larkin is right, it is an awkward thing.

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.