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Word Body is a reading/poetry recital performance based on endurance and public space presence, based on the ongoing collection of queer and feminist poetry. We took from the internet (and we give back to whomever needs them) a selection of meaningful words written and published for about 150 years by really brave persons. These words are collected to be performed in the street/public space, for 8 hours non-stop, a day’s work. We have done it, it is hard yet beautiful. If you want to do it, here is how: find a quiet enough corner of public space, stay for 8 hours in that allotment and read aloud feminist and queer poetry.

Word body is also a translation project, from English (so far) into Romanian. We have already been doing work and research on these topics, collecting and translating into Romanian poems that are significant to us and to our lesbian feminist background, with the purpose of introducing, via interventions, meaningful words into the Bucharest streets and on its fences, walls and public gardens.

First for the purpose of translation, then for any other purpose and reason we have put together a collection of more than 100 poems, not yet enough to fill up 8 hours of continuous reading…but we are getting there (for now we re-read, improvise, re-think). When recited in public space, they form a live, spoken herstory of feminist, lesbian and trans affects, from predecessors of radical feminist thinking at the beginning of the 20th century (such as Qiu Jin or Lola Ridge), to the energetic representatives of 2nd Wave (like Adrienne Rich, Judy Grahn or Audre Lorde), and to more recent approaches from the riot grrrl scene, queercore, feminism in  postcolonial context, trans poetry, queer feminism, spoken word poetry, differently abled poets (such as Kathy Acker, Jean Smith and Mecca Normal, Aditi Rao, Fahmida Riaz, Eileen Myles, Ntozake Shange, Alix Olson, Andrea Gibson, Kirya Yvonne Traber and many others). Personal spoken word improvisations can and should be added.

Without props, without drinking water, without stopping no matter the circumstances, there will be no interventions to or from our bodies other than the transformations that the words themselves would engender. Word body is the process of living and embodying herstories that we belong to yet we are only discovering them. Through language, our bodies become advocacy, as they permeate and affect at their turn the transient public space.


This is how we arranged the poems in the collection, so far:

By intersections of vectors:

1. vector 1 – backbone: the herstory timeline. A discrete time axis runs through the collection, going from the beginning of 20th century to the present day. It is very much hidden by the folding of the next vectors:

2. vector 2 – blood system: a trajectory of ideologies. The vector of ideas intersects the time line, disrupting its linearity. For instance; a poem from the 90s, that somehow answers to a poem from the 40s will be put next to it, or the other way around, the permutations can vary. A poem by an African feminist can stand next to a queer north American poem if there are connections of ideas to be found inbetween.

3. vector 3 – nervous system: an emotional landscape. These are clusters of poems that deal more with emotions and affects. They can be grouped together to raise the intensity of certain words or moments, or simply to separate certain ideas or moments of herstory.

vector 4 – the body is skeen-deep: the body experience. This lights the performative side of the collection: how we word the words, how our accents mold them, how our understanding can result in confusion or enlightment, how our bodies are affected by extra voice effort, how our personal stories and background affect our understanding of words and their translation.

The poems are in fact connected, there is randomness but also a very subjective kind of order within their succession.


We have done 2 performances of poetry in public space so far.  Here are the wonderful festivals that hosted us:




We hope that more of you would take these poems and read them, embody them, translate them.





Posted June 29, 2014 by poetrybody

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