PBS Recommendation Spring 2021
How might poetry help us articulate the body in illness, in work, and in love? Tiffany Atkinson’s fourth collection includes the prize-winning sequence ‘Dolorimeter’, which takes fragments of speech and found text from a hospital residency to pay homage to the inventiveness and humour of patients and staff in a series of meditations on the notion that pain resists language. Away from the wards, other poems consider the strangeness of the workplace and the embarrassing incursions of desire into everyday life, celebrating the ability of poetic language to lay awkwardness and uncertainty alongside unexpected openings and glimpses of revelation.
A lumen is a unit of light, but also a channel or an opening inside the body; perhaps, in this collection, it may also serve as a metaphor for the work of the poem itself.