Feeld, a new poetry collection from Jos Charles, is a strange wandering series of connecting poems. Focusing on ideas of identity and trauma for the trans poet — placing herself as a hypothetical horse (saddled, broken) in a field which we will have the run of for the connected poems. The feeld itself is one that we move about in and observe trauma and change through pastoral imagery.
There is a lot of playing with the location/physical space here, curling up into the space of an egg as a place where “the grl beguines”, or demarking borders “the waye 2 inclose & disclose a tree”.
Trees themselves, a way to provide borders to the feeld present life in the obvious ways — we’re unsure of the girls plucking the leaves and:
speeching off treees
from the insied / u can growe
deer 2 one / onlie from the insied /
comes to us near the end of the collection. Trees are damaged and disfigured throughout the cycle of poems, they’re unknown at the start and “deer” at the end. Through their manipulation by others we see how the identity the ‘I’ in the poem goes from one suffering trauma to one who accepts their experiences as forming. The horse is broken in and saddled, but this doesn’t have to be a negative, because it is a continued existence — if negotiated.
All this is, of course, offset by the use of internet-style spelling and grammar that often slips into an approximation of old English. I’ve struggled writing about this collection as I’ve wanted to flit between saying that the whole thing is one long poem in the epic style, or that instead of each poem Jos is posting.
Still, in the same way that anyone can read Chaucer if they relax the part of their brain containing what they think are the rules (read: what they were told as a child was correct) and read aloud, the same can be said for feeld. The effect is one which presents conflict between the childishness of it — and the associated authority with have with old English. It jars forming a neat set of double meanings (deer/dear, the field/a past tense to have felt) and produces a similar effect to the content of the poems themselves — that of balancing the past with the current, authorial reading.
I am hoping to get a bit broader with the genres I cover here — I am sure it will mostly remain literary, but I was recently sent this book of short sci-fi that you’ll be treated to at some point 🙂
And this week’s song is Blake Butler’s fault — Miles Davis & John Coltrane in Stockholm 1960.
If you’re in the mood for more jazz, this is László Krasznahorkai, from his interview in the Paris Review.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. It was written by @CJEggett and proofread by no one. If you spot a typoe, let me know. Inform your newest, freshest wife that this is where she needs to put her email address. Inform your most diligent, hottest, stable-boy that he can read it online later, here, from a haystack. Or take a seat, yes, anywhere you like. I am selling a drum machine, buy it? Don’t be like this guy (please read my very good response it’s exactly what you would expect of me I am sorry). Isn’t the sun nice? Aren’t our bones warm? I met some French people down an untravelled track today — it started as a road and then gave up as the trees touched limbs above — and they will be making their way to the Norfolk coast by now, possibly passing through my home town to get there.