Basic Nest Architecture is my first full-length collection of poems. It is structured around three interconnected ideas: place as nest, the mind as nest, and the body as nest. The poems explore ideas of home and belonging, in the world and in our own selves. The poems also address the implications of the term ‘architecture’, examining structure and intention in both the ‘natural’ world and the constructed.
The first section focuses on the world around us, the second on dreamstates and mindscapes, and the third on the world as experienced through the body. The third section of the collection explores the body as a kind of dwelling in itself: nest-like, architectural, and, at times, derelict or decrepit. In poems exploring experiences of ill-health and hospitalisation such as ‘Cannulation’, ‘The Test’, and ‘Imaging’, this section seeks to address the absurd and surreal in our dealings with the physical body. It also seeks to express non-normative embodiment in new, or revealing, ways. It tracks my long journey to diagnosis of two chronic genetic conditions (Haemochromatosis and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) and how diagnostic processes highlight the ways in which we communicate about, and with, the body.
At the geographical centre of the collection is Cumbria and the English Lake District: my home for the most part of the last decade. This is a landscape silted up with historical cultural references, but as the poems seek to show, it is also a breathing, working, constantly evolving contemporary sphere, connected to global circuits of production, commerce, mobility and creativity. I hope that the book balances a deep involvement with a place which is often presented as historical, or timeless, with a keen eye on contemporary life. The three sections of the book are a movement from a relatively standardised notion of writing about place (geographical locations; the world around us) to a wider discussion about where or how we might experience location (or dislocation). The body is, in this context, both a world in itself and our only home in it.