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Queering Materiality in Northern Ireland: A Tactile Encounter with Padraig Regan

Lecture queer de la matérialité en Irlande du Nord : rencontre tactile avec Padraig Regan
Jessica Bundschuh
p. 15-31

Résumés

L’anthologie de Paul Maddern, Queering the Green : Post-2000 Queer Irish Poetry (2021), reflète une visibilité accrue de la poésie irlandaise queer. Cet article porte sur l’œuvre de l’un des contributeurs à l’anthologie, Padraig Regan, poète de Belfast qui dynamise les représentations de rencontres écologiques afin de questionner l’efficacité du regard potentiellement égoïste du vers. La poésie de Regan met en avant un sens des espaces de cohabitation écologiques et sociaux en cultivant une solidarité à travers la tactilité et l’affiliation mutuelle. Les poèmes de son recueil Some Integrity (2002) partent d’une position de scepticisme quant aux limites entre locuteur et sujet, afin de privilégier un sens du toucher ancré dans le contact réciproque et la proximité. Au bout du compte, l’œuvre de Regan offre au lecteur une poétique queer richement incarnée que le poète appelle « éroto-géographie ».

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Texte intégral

Initiating a queer ecology of touch

  • 1 Listen to the 8 May 2022 episode of The Poetry Programme focused on three queer poets from Belfast (...)
  • 2 This 2022 series of podcasts, Queer at Queen’s, reflects an expansion upon the more generally-theme (...)
  • 3 Paul Maddern, “Introduction”, in Queering the Green: Post-2000 Queer Irish Poetry, Paul Maddern (ed (...)

1The 2021 publication of a nearly four-centimetre-tall anthology, Queering the Green: Post-2000 Queer Irish Poetry, alongside a variety of recent public conversations, like those on RTÉ’s The Poetry Programme1 and the podcast series, Queer at Queen’s,2 signal an increase in the visibility of queer poetry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In parallel, the last few years have marked a proliferation of poetry publications, debut and otherwise, of many of the queer poets included in The Lifeboat Press anthology, like Kevin Breathnach, Séan Hewitt, William Keohane, Mícheál McCann, Gail McConnell, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Leeanne Quinn, Padraig Regan, Rosamund Taylor and Dawn Watson. In fact, the anthology’s editor, Paul Maddern, argues in his “Introduction” that “Irish identity is being radically reconfigured” and “queer Irish poets are leading the way in asking how identity is to be redrawn in the twenty-first century”.3

  • 4 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, Belfast, The Lifeboat Press, 2022, p. 17.
  • 5 Sara Ahmed, Jackie Stacey, “Dermographies”, in Thinking through the Skin, Sara Ahmed, Jackie Stacey (...)
  • 6 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Queering the Green…, p. xviii. “Salt Island” also appears in Padra (...)

2This paper will examine how one anthology contributor, Belfast poet Padraig Regan, invigorates lyrical representation through a queer ecology that “thinks through skin”, both as an aesthetic and a spatial orientation. That is, as Regan succinctly asserts, “queerness itself has its own unique spatiality”.4 This argument regards skin as an “inter-embodied” “mode of being-with and being-for, where one touches and is touched by others”.5 After all, touch, by its very nature, grounds subjects in an experience of embodied relationality and proximity, extending to effective textual manifestations. One such example, Regan’s poem “Salt Island”, Maddern prominently situates just after the table of contents and prior to his introduction as a manifesto for the whole anthology. Herein, Regan’s speaker asks the surrounding ecosystem – in the only italicised line in the poem – “wow! All this for me?”,6 thereby initiating, more grandly, a question about the efficacy of the lyric’s potentially egoistic gaze. In short, Regan responds by advocating for mutual affiliation.

  • 7 Prior to the publication of Some Integrity in 2022, Regan published two poetry pamphlets: Delicious(...)
  • 8 In conversation with Regan in July 2023, the poet explained that “Salt Island” had been slated as t (...)
  • 9 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Some Integrity, p. 71.
  • 10 Ibid.
  • 11 Ibid.
  • 12 David Le Breton, Sensing the World: An Anthropology of the Senses, Carmen Ruschiensky (trans.), Lon (...)

3Regan’s work responds resoundingly to the cultural moment of ecological crisis in heightening a responsibility for, and establishing a solidarity with, an environment in which readers may jointly reside. “Salt Island”, for instance, appearing just months after the anthology’s publication in Regan’s debut volume Some Integrity (2022),7 is situated at the beginning of a final section titled “(Landscapes)” in embracing parentheses.8 By opening “Salt Island” with a scepticism about the boundary between the lyrical subject and the landscape under examination – that all too easy binary between inside and outside: “I wanted to make a gothic of it all: / the trees on the slope where the island dipped / into the sea, their weird kinks & angles”9 – Regan honours an experience of touch that is reciprocal and expansive: “the cloud-quilt which was then breaking up / as though someone had pulled / the one thread which held the whole clump / of vapours in place”.10 Thereafter, readers witness the traces of past tactile encounters that echo the cloud’s “vapours”: “the scrap of wool where a sheep had rubbed / a flank against a tree’s arthritic fingers”.11 In this ecology, even Regan’s trees have fingers capable of touching back. And this posture of welcoming tactile encounters with a wide variety of subjects speaks to Regan’s volume as a whole; across sections titled after ekphrastic and artistic modes – “(Studies)”, “(Reproductions)”, and “(Still Lives)” – Regan vigorously takes up David Le Breton’s claim that “our relation to the world is first and foremost a relation to the skin”.12 The resulting poems act as reminders that although the limitations of skin appear to demarcate a singular and separate reality for each subject, touch, in every instance, is an engaged form of contact with another. Following this engaged route, the poet invites those participating in these textual encounters (including the reader along on the journey) to jointly develop a feel for ecological spaces of co-habitation.

  • 13 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”, The Carcanet Blog, 12 January 2022, online: https://carcanetb (...)
  • 14 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, The Irish Itinerary Podcast, Katharina (...)
  • 15 Ibid., 23:56.

4What additionally animates the work in Some Integrity – as Regan explains in a 2022 Carcanet blog post in honour of the volume’s publication – is the lyrical articulation of “how queer people still must strategise to move through the world avoiding violence”.13 Such a project is intertwined with Regan’s frustration, on display in “Salt Island”, with those forces that “reduce the body to a mere channel between the object and speaking mouth at the expense of other bits of our sensory apprehension”;14 this leads the poet to bluntly ask: “And what’s the ethics of that?”.15 Indeed, for Regan, the ethics of lyric-making centres on the question of subjecthood:

  • 16 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”.

[…] I have no particular desire to write about queer subject matter, or tell queer stories, or express a queer identity. What motivates me is the question of how to write queerly. This is, for me, a project that necessitates a reconsideration of writing’s assumptions: instead of naming something, name its absence; instead of telling a story, withhold it; recognise that the self cannot be expressed in the poem; it is the poem that creates the self (I is after all a necessity of grammar).16

5Such a position proposes boldly that the poem, itself, fashions identity via its own rhetorical argument. The poem, in this sense, is a linguistic performance that welcomes an embodied (and typographic) self as a grammared imperative implicit in the very presence of a first-person speaker. And the poet manifests this brief and textually-confined liberation through the power of poetic indirection. Herein, the aesthetic of writing “queerly” acts as a subversive rhetoric; it becomes so by relying on a register of negation to “name” absence with the aim of fostering agency for those subjects who inhabit the poem. In other words, through the tactic of apophasis, Regan’s work defines itself precisely by what it is not, shunning any straightforward categorisations. Thereby, a “doubled identity” emerges that is simultaneously there and not there.

  • 17 Chris Boesel, Catherine Keller, “Introduction”, in Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation (...)
  • 18 Ibid., p. 12.
  • 19 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 4.

6This paper contends that Regan’s reliance on a poetics of heuristic tactility grounds a more open-ended ontology of negation. Indeed, at the very moment when Regan’s poems shift into an apophatic mode, the speakers achieve a fluid indeterminacy crafted to undermine static binaries. As a result, in the batch of Some Integrity poems under examination here – “Salt Island”, “Pavlova”, “A Snail”, “Study of a Tomato”, “Fidelity”, “A Pumpkin”, and “Risotto” – Regan becomes a kind of rhetorical magician, well-practiced in sleight of hand. That is, Regan shapes their poems to be productively “slippery” with a capacity to affirm and deny, and to name and sidestep naming. In so doing, the act of apophatic “unsaying” supports Regan’s project of speaking “away objectifying speech about bodies”17 and, in response, this “unsaying of the body in the name of the body” dislodges “the impermeable boundaries and ontological […] fixities of a modern body”.18 Ultimately, then, by conjoining the stabilising representations of touch with the destabilising tactic of negation, Regan offers readers an embodied queer poetics well captured by a term coined by the poet: “eroto-geography”.19

Frottaging the lockdown

  • 20 Ibid., p. 22-23.

7To facilitate a richer understanding of Regan’s queer poetics, it is productive to consider the two nonfiction essays Regan published in 2022, the same year as the poetic works in focus. The first, The Sensual City, was published as a pamphlet from The Lifeboat Press, and the second, “Glitch City”, is an essay positioned at the half-way point in Some Integrity in a section unto itself titled “(Capriccio)”. In this adjacent genre of the personal essay, Regan explores theoretical approaches to “queer geography”. For example, in The Sensual City, written in 2021 “at a time when contact is impossible, or at least prohibited”,20 Regan explores the resulting hypersensitivity of occupying public spaces during the pandemic. This radiates down to the minutiae of every encounter, from airflow patterns, to surfaces of communal touch, such that tactile connections bear the burden of being among the riskiest in which to indulge. In response to this crisis, Regan attempts to re-establish connections linguistically, not only between humans, but also between humans and nonhumans, and humans and their surrounding ecosystems, local and far flung.

  • 21 Ibid., p. 31.
  • 22 Ibid., p. 26.
  • 23 Ibid., p. 23.
  • 24 Ibid., p. 3.
  • 25 Ibid.

8Here is the scene The Sensual City portrays on a bitter cold February day in 2021, when talking one’s gloves off proves arduous: Regan crosses the Albert Bridge and heads to Cromac Street in a desire to channel a sense of alienation and a “need to touch the city”21 into a creative endeavour. The poet pauses to consider the street’s name, seeking resonance not only in its curved lay of the land, but also in its etymological roots. Regan is pleased “to learn that it comes from cromóg, referring in this instance to a bend in the river”; in a more general context, it alludes to a “slope or curvature, and deriving from the adjective crom, meaning bent or crooked, giving this street an etymological hinterland not unlike that of ‘queer’”.22 Amid this echoing cityscape, Regan becomes determined to “move through the city with more openness” and “less fear”23 by carrying out the artistic practice of frottage. This project at hand, literally, begins “with paper, a blue Conté crayon, masking tape, and a can of hairspray to use as fixative, making rubbings of bricks, tiles, grills, street signs, manhole covers, embossed ironwork: any surface”.24 Regan borrows the technique of “frottage, from the verb frotter meaning ‘to rub’”25 from Max Ernst:

  • 26 Ibid., p. 3-4 (emphasis added).

What is recorded in frottage is not so much a visual encounter with an object but a tactile encounter. In a quite literal sense, frottage is a process of contamination; an act of mutual touching […] which leaves a material trace, a residue. […] Practicing frottage is an exercise in responsiveness. […] Both haptic and heuristic, frottage attunes the body to the variegated surface of the world. Not psychogeography, but a kind of eroto-geography – a way of mapping the city according to the skin.26

  • 27 Ibid., p. 17.

9Out of Regan’s practice of “rubbing” emerges the above-mentioned term of “eroto-geography” as an enactment of “queer spatiality” in which the poet positions their body at “a slantwise angle, a curvature, an inversion, a turn”,27 mirroring the etymology of Cromac Street. Thus, Regan spatially performs the queer poetics at work in Some Integrity. As Regan asserts,

  • 28 Ibid., p. 18.

When I make a rubbing, I am oriented differently: I do not follow the street’s forward directionality, but turn towards different angles, and in so doing, I obstruct straight/forward movement […] [and] what appears as regular geometric order to the eye becomes a confusion of squiggles, soft lines and rash-like abrasions when translated through frottage from three-dimensional space to the flat surface of the page.28

10In coming to terms with the potential implications of orientation and proximity, Regan is cautious to avoid making the encountered interfaces inert and passive; doing so would thoroughly undermine the potency of this artistic corollary of the act of writing. In fact, Regan draws the epigraph for The Sensual City, “Crisis is contact”, from Anne Carson, the subject of their creative PhD:

  • 29 Anne Carson, “Dirt and Desire: Essay on the Phenomenology of Female Pollution in Antiquity”, in Men (...)

As members of human society, perhaps the most difficult task we face daily is that of touching one another – whether the touch is physical, moral, emotional or imaginary. Contact is crisis. As the anthropologists say, “every touch is a modified blow.” The difficulty presented by any instance of contact is that of violating a fixed boundary, transgressing a closed category where one does not belong.29

  • 30 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 29.
  • 31 Ibid., p. 15.
  • 32 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others, Durham, Duke University Press, 2006 (...)
  • 33 Ibid.

11Through frottage, then, Regan’s physical self – in appraising each urban encounter with a surface as a “vast textual collage”30 – initiates a “crisis” of orientation and a willingness to become an “obstacle”31 for passing pedestrians in downtown Belfast who must navigate around the poet. In this way, Regan productively encounters a “horizon” that “marks the edge of what can be reached by the body”;32 indeed, the act of situating oneself in relation to another is vitally important for a subject who is feeling disconnected mid-pandemic. It is precisely in this intersecting space that the body’s “contours” sharpen to reveal the “‘limits’ of what it can do”.33

  • 34 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 15.
  • 35 Padraig Regan, “Glitch City”, in Some Integrity, p. 55.
  • 36 Ibid., p. 47.
  • 37 Ibid.
  • 38 Ibid.

12Foregrounding the vulnerability implicit in insisting upon one’s preferred orientation in a public space, Regan contends that it is important to “not show any kind of embarrassment or apology for taking up space in this way”.34 This applies even if the stance of being spatially disruptive is difficult to maintain, as Regan concedes in “Glitch City” while describing how they “move through the world” with care: “I’ve learned what every little queer must learn: be alert, to be aware of where you are & are not safe”.35 Ultimately, withstanding the discomfort of being exposed and vulnerable becomes not only an act of courage, but also a testament to the connections that exist between touch, crisis and boundary. That is, at the centre of “Glitch City” is a materiality whose highest achievement is its ability to “impersonate its own absence”,36 namely glass. In glass’s “‘amorphous solid’” state, it “forces us to confront the fact that the categories we receive as common knowledge” are overly simplistic. As a result, a “disruptive new term defined only in relation to itself, bending that system around its own material needs” might signal, like the material of glass, “new forms of political agency, not based on assertions of individual self-presence”.37 It is the capacity to be defined as encompassing “all of the above” qualities – solid, liquid and gas – that enables glass, in Regan’s thought experiment, to transform into a “queer material”.38 That is, to engage with a queer aesthetic, Regan’s work, as I will explore shortly, thoughtfully and carefully seeks out specific materials and subjects capable of disruptive shapeshifting.

  • 39 In an attack on the queer community, forty-nine individuals were murdered and fifty-three were inju (...)
  • 40 Bruno Latour, Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime, Catherine Porter (trans.), Ca (...)
  • 41 Ibid.
  • 42 Bruno Latour, After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis, Julie Rose (trans.), Cambridge, Polity Press, 2021, (...)
  • 43 Ibid., p. 42.

13In relation to the constricted temporal and spatial moment in which Regan composes The Sensual City (not unlike the month of June 2016 on which “Glitch City” ruminates in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting39), Bruno Latour’s declaration from Facing Gaia strikes a chord: the “Earth is no longer ‘objective,’ in the sense that it can no longer be kept at a distance”.40 In other words, it is “impossible, from now on, to play at dialectically opposing subjects and objects”.41 This acknowledgement of an unavoidable interconnection between subjects and the ecologies they inhabit becomes an act of political urgency that Latour retrofits in After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis (2021) to apply to a spatiality narrowed by the conditions of the pandemic. In Latour’s coinage, the confinement of the lockdown (like the mass shooting on which Regan laments in “Glitch City”) forces humans, as “terrestrials”, to “inhabit the same place in a different way […] based on the new ways of placing ourselves differently in the same spot”.42 Indeed, this spatial re-positioning during the pandemic (and also in response to an assault of gun violence) makes it contingent upon subjects to attune themselves to a more nuanced sense of identity full of “overlapping” instances of “encroachment”.43 In other words, subjects must assume vantage points better able to recognise and value buried commonalities.

  • 44 Ibid., p. 12.
  • 45 Ibid., p. 13.
  • 46 Padraig Regan, “Pavlova”, in Some Integrity, p. 60.
  • 47 Nigella Lawson, “Strawberry Pavlova Recipe”, The New York Times, 19 August 2003.
  • 48 Padraig Regan, “Pavlova”, p. 60.
  • 49 Ibid.

14Latour parallels the lockdown – the context of Regan’s frottage project – to Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella, The Metamorphosis, with the important distinction that Latour asks readers to enter Kafka’s text from upside down: instead of looking at the cockroach, Gregor, readers become Gregor; and instead of regarding Gregor’s existence as a tragedy, readers recognise Gregor as happy. Thus, for Latour, Gregor is a model for how to conduct oneself in space anew by grasping “the work of living organisms and their capacity to change the living conditions around them, to build nests, spheres, surroundings”.44 Ultimately, Latour claims that “turning into an animal leads to a […] much more down-to-earth [view]: there is no ‘environment’ at all”.45 Correspondingly, what inspires Regan’s speaker in the poem “Pavlova” is how the subject of the poem, a baked meringue dessert of all things, maintains its own sense of identity, like Gregor, despite external pressures; that is, Regan’s lyrical pavlova “holds / its shape like a cat: bonelessly // relaxed”;46 although this is likely a rare poetic comparison of a marshmallowy dessert – aptly bearing the name of a Russian ballerina47 – to a cat, Regan’s simile offers readers the ideal animal counterpart. In eight “light-footed” couplets (with a cat-like energy that recalls William Carlos Williams’s 1930 poem “As the Cat…”), Regan’s speaker imagines what it might be like to be a pavlova in its “gloss” and its “coral-hard” post-oven shape that “resists the whip // by loving it”, while “cling[ing] to the spoon / like history”.48 This “pavlovian” ideal (after the dessert, not the neurologist) is equally relaxed and firm, hard and soft, and shaped and “boneless”, embracing, thereby, its own negative state. The speaker even asks, “[d]o I resent it?” in response to the dessert’s tenacity to withstand judgement levelled at it by the speaker’s tapping of its firm “base”49 in an attempt to find its weak spot.

Challenging the skin’s boundaries

  • 50 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, p. 55.
  • 51 Ibid.
  • 52 Padraig Regan, “Glitch City”, p. 54.
  • 53 Ibid.
  • 54 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 8.
  • 55 Graham Ward, “The Metaphysics of the Body”, in Apophatic Bodies…, p. 229.

15What overwhelmingly defines Regan’s lyrics in Some Integrity is a desire for, and privileging of, immediacy, even in the midst of disorientation and disconnection. As Sara Ahmed claims, interactions of proximity and nearness facilitate a sense of orientation, since the “surfaces of bodies are shaped by what is reachable”.50 In a grander scale, then, “the history of bodies can be rewritten as the history of the reachable”.51 Thus, tactile encounters are not merely advantageous; they are compulsory: subjects within reach facilitate aesthetic works of mutuality. For instance, haptic immediacy guides Regan’s recollection in “Glitch City” of the childhood experience of revelling in pixelated representations of ecosystems encased in a hand-held Gameboy screen from the 1990s. This Gameboy mediation “asks a formal question” that equally applies to the craft of poetry: “how can you create a space through which a viewer can imaginatively move with such strict technical limitations”?52 In other words, how might a poet formally shape a poem to gain the buy-in and the “imaginative participation”53 of the reader? One possible answer is to heighten the sensory experience of said reader through a down-to-earth exploration of a “queer material”, as discussed above in reference to Regan’s meditation on glass. That is, Regan employs a textual synesthesia that combines touch with sight, since “neither the eye nor the skin by themselves can situate us, but their combined efforts can”.54 The resulting creative works, thereby, portray a mutuality that is neither abstracted, nor one-sided, “for touch cannot reduce the body to an object seen, to a visible surface, in the way that sight can”.55 Rather, touch – harnessed to sight – initiates a conversation of generous expansiveness, making it an ideal lens for a poetics attuned to variation and inclusivity.

  • 56 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Some Integrity, p. 71.
  • 57 Ibid.

16The poem “Salt Island”, explored at the outset of this discussion, incorporates both this sense of synesthesia and a corollary to the Gameboy screen in the form of the speaker’s cell phone (another miniaturised version of a “queer material”). In an ironic refashioning of a self-referential natural environment, the speaker in “Salt Island” reveals that the islet near Killyleagh is actually an absent setting. In other words, the setting of the first fifteen lines had been framed by the speaker’s cell phone screen as “photographs” the speaker “scroll[s] through”56 in bed in the second half of the poem. Thus, within the context of the lyric, both reader and speaker have only been granted a mediated interaction with the outdoor “weather” in the process of “rescinding its earlier threats of rain”57 outside of the poem’s frame. This means that there was never any real threat of getting wet. Instead, the “embedded” speaker is temporally and spatially at a remove from the site of Salt Island, now confined to photographs from the week prior that the speaker views in a two-dimensional form. This backward-looking and reclining speaker can be read as a tongue-in-cheek reference to William Wordsworth’s couch-bound speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and, thereby, as a dig at a self-absorbed poet.

  • 58 Ibid.
  • 59 Ibid.
  • 60 See Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Richard Howard (trans.), New York, F (...)
  • 61 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, p. 71.

17In effect, the site of greatest immediacy in Regan’s “Salt Island” is not the anticipated (but actually absent) setting named in the title. Indeed, the speaker’s presence becomes doubled across the two settings: in the past, the subject is desirous of ice-cream while wearing a “red tartan” that “clashed with the grass”,58 and, in the present, the belated speaker speculates on the motives of that earlier self: “I wonder if I intended to be the punctum, / the little rip in the surface / where my eye might snag”.59 In borrowing the term “punctum” from Roland Barthes,60 Regan celebrates the “stings” and “cuts” that might be captured in naming absence. In fact, a profound act of heightened typographic naming through negation occurs in the final lines: “to tease out what it means when all this naming, / of the island, wool, sheep, trees, & clouds, / is just another way of saying I, I, I, I, I”.61 Herein, the speaker grants each of the five nouns listed its own first-person subjectivity, like little vertical “cuts” akin to Barthes’s punctum. To return to the overarching claim of this contribution, Regan combines a negative ontology and a tactile presence through the nouns of wool and sheep that occupied the first half of the poem, although they had always-already been mediated by the “queer material” of the cell phone screen. In this way, Regan sets up a journey of mediation that calls into question the distinction between inside and outside, immediate and distant, and past and present.

  • 62 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 8:56-10:23.
  • 63 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 1 (...)
  • 64 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and Subversion of Identity, New York, Routledge, 1990, p. 1 (...)
  • 65 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.
  • 66 Padraig Regan, “Our Personal Papers”, in Some Integrity, p. 38.
  • 67 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 9:41.
  • 68 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.
  • 69 Ibid.

18As Regan explains in the EFACIS podcast interview,62 Timothy Morton’s theory of queer ecology has long been an influence on their work, especially Morton’s contention that “[a]ll life-forms, along with the environments they compose and inhabit, defy boundaries between inside and outside at every level”.63 Morton relies here on Judith Butler’s argument64 that “the body just isn’t an impermeable, closed form”,65 favouring an interactive and porous approach that acknowledges interconnections that emerge from being embedded in an ecological space. On a micro-scale, we might approach this ecology as the encasement of skin itself, since, as Regan writes, “[a] little sweat on the forehead reminds us that we are still inside a skin & the skin is a kind of tight net”.66 Indeed, due to such an unavoidable proximity, any surrounding ecology cannot but shape the identities of those who inhabit it, for good and bad; for instance, Regan acknowledges that “as a queer person, the concept of nature has long been weaponised against us”.67 In reaction to this oppressive history, Regan deliberately chooses a framework that is not aligned historically with policing a simplified inside / outside border. This act of opposing a traditional concept of “Nature” means, likewise, interrogating an “inside-outside manifold […] [that is] fundamental for thinking the environment as a metaphysical, closed system – Nature”.68 And, as Morton contends, “this is impossible to construe without violence”.69 Thus emerges Regan’s aesthetic preference for indirection, couched in arguments of negation, in order to deflect a “weaponised” conception of nature.

  • 70 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”.
  • 71 Ibid.
  • 72 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, p. 9.

19As an ecological subject worthy of taking on the outdated belief that nature is a closed and contained system, Regan seeks out the snail. The snail is a subject who absorbs oxygen and releases carbon dioxide across the surface of its skin, suggesting, therefore, an openness to “ontological and epistemic indeterminacy”.70 In this way, the snail has a body “queered by its porousness, its penetrability”.71 It is a mollusc whose slime, said to stimulate collagen production, is a treasured ingredient in high-end skin care products; thus, a snail’s mucin might literally become an “extension” of human skin, making the snail a model of “responsivity” in its ability to reveal the “impressions” of shaping and of being shaped in reaction to the ecologies in which it “dwells”.72 In “A Snail”, Regan first and foremost asks readers to “imagine” the existence of a shelled gastropod through its skin:

  • 73 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, in Some Integrity, p. 25.

Imagine the effort it would take to go on living inside a skin
        so barely-there, so thin
you are required to coat yourself in mucus to stop your wet
        interior from leaking out.73

  • 74 Ibid.
  • 75 Ibid.

20With Regan’s snail, the boundaries between the mollusc’s interior and exterior become irrelevant in their sameness and in the snail’s act of leaving behind traces as “chalky leaving[s] on the tiles”, “preserved as kinks & loops, as gradations in the thickness of / the line”.74 Herein, the snail becomes the poet’s double in “etch[ing] a letter” notated in snail-speak to form “the initial of the man / you’ll marry”.75

  • 76 Ibid. (emphasis added).
  • 77 In an analysis of metapoesis, Heather H. Yeung explores how enjambment in Gunn’s “Considering the S (...)
  • 78 Thom Gunn, “Considering the Snail”, in Selected Poems, Clive Wilmer (ed.), London, Faber and Faber, (...)

21The poem’s long lines also textually manifest the snail’s residue of secretions revealing its locomotion across the kitchen tiles, both in the dropped “tails” of interrupted lines and in the instances of startling enjambment, which pull the reader down the page. Thus, Regan’s lines mimic the equally steady momentum and the stop-and-go motion of a snail’s purposeful path (here, continuing the line begun above): “[…] as gradations in the thickness of / the line. Oh, / I’m almost reluctant to scoop the bastard up […]”.76 In this regard, Regan’s end-of-line interjection of “Oh” recalls the line breaks in Thom Gunn’s “Considering the Snail” (1961) that, likewise, replicate a snail’s motion. However, Gunn shortens and ruptures the snail’s path with even more enjambed lines,77 which leave, in one instance, the pronoun “he” to protrude “outwards” at the end of a line, like a snail’s “antler” that leads the way forward, revealing “the earth’s dark. He / moves in a wood of desire, // pale antlers barely stirring / as he hunts”.78 The meaningful pause between Gunn’s noun and verb, here, is one instance in which the poem is spatially performative.

  • 79 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, p. 25 (emphasis added).
  • 80 Thom Gunn, “Considering the Snail”, p. 41.
  • 81 Ibid. (emphasis added).
  • 82 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, p. 25.
  • 83 Ibid.
  • 84 Ibid.
  • 85 Ibid.
  • 86 Ibid.

22In “A Snail”, Regan picks up the scene where Gunn leaves off, starting with the expansiveness of “Imagine the effort […]”79 (see the complete opening lines above); that is, Gunn ends “Considering the Snail” with a final request to the reader to join the snail in thought, an act now made possible after having assumed the snail’s point of view over the course of the eighteen-line poem: “drenched there / with purpose, knowing nothing”.80 Then, Gunn closes the frame with the snail’s “broken white” “progress”: “I would never have / imagined the slow passion / to that deliberate progress”.81 Instead of occupying a garden in San Francisco, Regan situates their snail encounter indoors; immersed in this domestic scene, the speaker establishes an interspecies mind meld, as Gunn does, which “comes to mind”82 after tracking the snail trail. Thereafter, Regan interrupts this kitchen-inscribed identification (setting up a parallel to Gertrude Stein, to be discussed shortly) to return the poet-like snail to its natural setting by “whip[ping] it over the fence”83 with a spoon and then scrubbing off the “creature’s slow & frilled / propulsion across the floor”.84 These actions would seem to signal a disavowal of the snail’s art; however, if there would only be similarity between Regan’s speaker and the snail, in the absence of difference, it would be tricky to escape an egoistic sense of ownership frequent in lyrical (over)identifications. That is, Regan takes care to recognise in the snail an autonomous subject (like the pavlova) capable of enacting its own version of “queer” writing, as Gunn has with his snail before Regan, through its kinetic pattern of “graphy in choreo”.85 As a result, it is the snail’s dancing letters, etched along the surfaces of the speaker’s kitchen, that retain a mystery at the centre of the lyric, before these letters magically “evaporate” in “a / slick of light”.86

Tasting immediacy

  • 87 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 16:41.
  • 88 Ibid., 16:44.
  • 89 Gertrude Stein, “A Sound”, in Tender Buttons [1914], Mineola, Dover Publications, 1997, p. 15.
  • 90 Michel Delville, Food, Poetry, and the Aesthetics of Consumption: Eating the Avant-Garde, New York, (...)

23By remaining in the kitchen setting of the prior snail encounter, it is possible to appraise more profoundly how the consumption of food might define selfhood. Indeed, Regan argues that it is a “habitual act that we do multiple times a day”;87 thus, it “makes us confront the fact that our bodies are not bounded […] [since] [w]e take in this matter and [it] becomes part of this assemblage we call a self”.88 With this significance of the gustatory mode in mind, one word that appears more than any other in Some Integrity to signal identities that are equally autonomous and dependent is “this”. Regan’s “this” behaves as any demonstrative pronoun ought, namely to indicate proximity, a necessity for any act of tasting. Regan’s repeated and emphatic rhetorical gesturing of “this”, as opposed to “that” or “those”, is vitally important in a queer poetics shaped by tactility and immediacy. Indeed, the singular pronoun “this” reaches back to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons (1914), the source of Some Integrity’s epigraph: “this is this” is lifted from Stein’s two-line prose poem, “A Sound”, which appears in a section called “Objects”: “Elephant beaten with candy and little pops and chews all bolts and reckless reckless rats, this is this”.89 Michel Delville reads Stein’s “A Sound” as a “tribute to the synaesthetic pleasures of candy chewing” that fuses “oral and genital imagery”90 in a queer love poem for Stein’s partner, and “domestic goddess”, Alice B. Toklas.

24In choosing to begin their volume with a nod to Stein’s erotic Tender Buttons, Regan upholds Stein’s exploration of the neglected senses of taste and touch as a means to expand upon the sensory palette of those dominating lyrical modes of sight and sound. That is, Some Integrity pairs the orifice of taste (the mouth) with the tactility of haptics (the hand) to ground an interchange between gustatory pleasure and sexual pleasure. In doing so, Regan playfully incorporates the presence of lyrical hands in this conflation of various levels of pleasure; by zooming in on Stein’s final three words in “A Sound”, “this is this”, Regan, thus, foregrounds the joyfully vibrant physical presence of the poet who performs a demonstration for a reader, like Stein herself. Indeed, the pronoun “this” frequently acts as a companion device for a speaker who points with fingers outstretched in the direction of the subject(s) in focus, now in a doubled typographic manifestation: this this. It is a grand performative act of gesticulating for the benefit of a “live” audience, and the resulting poem brings together a trio: the speaker, the subject (matter), and the witness to whom the poet extends a hand, holding them firmly within the grips of a performative poem.

  • 91 Richard Kearney, “Carnal Hospitality”, in Radical Hospitality: From Thought to Action, Richard Kear (...)
  • 92 Padraig Regan, “Study of a Tomato”, in Some Integrity, p. 62-63.
  • 93 Ibid.
  • 94 Ibid.

25It is the function of the hands, fingers, palms and thumbs that Regan embeds in their work to facilitate hospitality. Indeed, the objective of sincerely extending a hand – even if it is towards a tomato, an apple, or a pumpkin that can only offer an improvised “hand” back – is to acknowledge the other’s singularity. That is, to yield a reciprocal haptic encounter, Richard Kearney contends that the “carnal gesture of hospitality” needs to be a “sharing across difference”, rather than an “assimilation of alterity”.91 As an illustration, Regan immediately establishes a relationship of hospitality in “Study of a Tomato” with an opening request to “[i]magine it” (like in “A Snail”), and a Stein-like declaration in the second line to “[b]egin with this”.92 Thus, a “this-directed assertion” transforms the lyric into a demonstration of proximity, which Regan reinforces with three instances of “here” (not “there”): “Here is the pulp”; “here are the seeds”; and “here is that little green nipple”93 (the last iteration is a witty reference to Stein’s title of Tender Buttons, French slang for nipples). Similarly, “Study of a Tomato” ends by echoing Stein, as well: “This is this & only this”,94 to emphasise both the tomato’s closeness and its singularity, with “only this” acting as an expansion and a grounding of Stein’s original claim.

  • 95 Ibid.
  • 96 Ibid.
  • 97 Ibid.
  • 98 Ibid.
  • 99 Ibid.
  • 100 Padraig Regan, “Risotto”, in Some Integrity, p. 23.
  • 101 Ibid.
  • 102 Ibid.

26Further, to define in “Study of a Tomato” the tomato’s character, “round / as ontology”, evoking a “soft” form “filled” with “mostly juice”,95 Regan reverts to negation upon negation. In other words, the tomato’s juice is “not blood // & not unlike it”,96 making it neither blood, nor not blood. And although the speaker contends that the tomato has “no bones, no beak, no claws”,97 these objects of negation – bones, beak and claws – have now found a home within the frame of the poem; therefore, the claim that follows, namely that the tomato has a “body” across which the speaker’s “tongue might read // the season’s rainfall / & map the land it fell upon”, and leading to a knowledge of “all its red brethren”,98 feels reasonable. That is, Regan’s apophatic gesture defines this tomato’s identity in relation to the animal-like bodily (non)attributes of bones, beak and claws, while deflecting them at the same time. Once Regan founds the tomato’s selfhood on negation, the speaker then consumes it, assimilating it into another body, thereby reinforcing the fact that it could never be a symbol of a “closed” system: “Let’s open it”.99 Similarly in “Risotto”, the speaker says of the midnight feast, “I eat it & I think about the moment that it will become // not it but I”.100 Thus, out of the negation of “not it”, the risotto assumes its identity in first person: “but I”.101 In the absence of other physical pleasures – “[i]t has been a month or more since I have touched another human skin” – the speaker deliberately turns to a “sister pleasure” of a starch and it is “not without regret”.102

  • 103 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, in Some Integrity, p. 68.
  • 104 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 18.
  • 105 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, p. 68.

27In “A Pumpkin”, Regan’s speaker, likewise, burrows below the surface, first splitting the pumpkin with a knife “along a shallow runnel / where its shape suggests it wants to split”.103 The speaker, here, looks for cues in the pumpkin’s form that will reveal its own intentions, like the snail’s twirls, or the “rash-like abrasions” that occur “when translated through frottage”.104 By intersecting the pumpkin’s “creamy interior”, the “orange mess” of “flesh” becomes exposed and “entangled” and this the speaker chooses to feel with their hands: this “wet potential” of the pumpkin that “turn[s] to pulp” in a form of “intimate” “violence”.105 As a site of messy symbiosis, the “orange cup [of the pumpkin] enclose[s] what it’s lost”, and through this vessel of “absence”, the speaker discovers a model of

  • 106 Ibid.

how it feels to hold a space
at the centre of oneself, & have it filled;
to bend the self around the presence
of something not-quite-other, not-quite-I.106

  • 107 Ibid.

28Yet again, Regan’s tactile interactions rely on a rhetoric of negation as a strategy to achieve a queer poetics of fluidity and “fullness”. Accordingly, a state of mutuality emerges with this pumpkin partner, even though it begins through an act of separation in the form of the speaker’s “knife”107 in the first line.

  • 108 Padraig Regan, “Fidelity”, in Some Integrity, p. 67.
  • 109 Ibid.
  • 110 Ibid.
  • 111 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.

29One great wisdom of Regan’s gustatory lyrics is how each poem enacts a poetics of openness that its formal features mimic. Often this openness is most pronounced in poetic closure, where the speaker rhetorically shifts responsibility to the reader. The poem “Fidelity”, for instance, concludes with an open question about how to maintain “a space I’ve shaped to hold / the desire I’ve nowhere else / to put but here, right here?”.108 Initially, Regan directs these questions towards an understanding of the psyche of the apple in the act of being consumed. Unlike the mode of apostrophe, however, the speaker does not ask the apple questions directly; rather, by speaking about the apple in the third-person, the presence of the reader, the addressee, remains compulsory to this conversation. Nonetheless, this series of questions bequeaths agency to the apple as a subject worthy of prompting them in the first place: “Does it bother the apple / that these teeth now cutting / through its pale green flesh / were, not so long ago, pressed into my earlobe with just / enough force to bring the blood / to the skin but no further?”.109 Then, the speaker asks, “[…] Would / the apple be concerned / if I said it was not an apple, / but […] a fiction; / if the mouth now grinding it / were not a mouth […]?”.110 Like in “A Pumpkin”, “Fidelity” relies here on images of sexual intimacy to grant the apple as a subject attributes of proximity and of being known, while deflecting them at the same time: the not mouth and the not apple. In these moments of intimate negation (unifying the gustatory and the sensual), a state of absence becomes more present, defining and immediate than a simple affirmation would be. Correspondingly, Morton contends that if “the environment becomes intimate”, “it is decisively no longer an environment, since it no longer just happens around us: that’s the difference between weather and climate”.111 As a result, the simple move of switching out Morton’s terminology from “climate” to “weather” transforms it into an experience of intimacy, even in the midst of difference. In this way, an encounter of tactility, akin to engaging up close with the weather, becomes sensorily immersive.

Concluding attachments

  • 112 Bruno Latour, After Lockdown…, p. 72.
  • 113 Ibid.

30In Some Integrity, like in the rubbing experiments in The Sensual City, Regan constructs a radical symbiosis with a variety of subjects that begins by bringing them into proximity. As Latour argues, one’s relationship with a co-inhabitant in an ecological space deepens once one gets close enough to find out “what it eats, why it migrates, how many other living things it needs to rely on”.112 In effect, once one understands its “attachments113 in an embodied context, it is possible to, likewise, assume its point of view and to temporarily align with subjects like the pumpkin, the snail, the apple, or the tomato, while still recognising their singularity.

  • 114 Padraig Regan, “Four Torsos in the Fitzwilliam Museum: GR.18.1891 (Eros)”, The Poetry Review, vol.  (...)
  • 115 Ibid.
  • 116 Padraig Regan, “This Video Has No Sound”, Poetry as Commemoration, University of College Dublin Lib (...)
  • 117 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, p. 68.

31As an example of Regan’s work published since Some Integrity, the sequence “Four Torsos in the Fitzwilliam Museum”, appearing in a recent issue of The Poetry Review, continues to explore a queer poetics through the techniques of tactility and negation. In the third poem of the sequence, “GR.18.1891 (Eros)”, “the double / nature of ourselves” refers to the incomplete torso of Eros in the Fitzwilliam Museum collection (bearing its catalogue number in the title); the speaker, here, defines the Egyptian statuette by what is missing. Once again, a sense of identity only emerges once the subject encounters a boundary, an “opposite / of what he represents”.114 That is, this meditation on a fragmented aesthetic materialisation of Eros – in the tradition of Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo” – enacts a queer materiality by seeking out the “traces of wings” that reveal “the hole the self / is built to mask, & can’t”.115 Ultimately, this ekphrastic poem upholds Regan’s project from Some Integrity by recognising the sculpture’s doubled and contradictory identity, both as a figure of stone and as a mythological character of aching and unending desire, neither of which are static. Herein, Regan’s lyrical manifestation is of a queer Eros who leans forward, opening his body to other bodies, to foster an expansive interaction across typographical boundaries in a poetics of inclusion that is grounded and open-ended. Likewise, in “This Video Has No Sound”, a poem commissioned in 2023 as part of the Poetry as Commemoration project, Regan asks readers, yet again, to accompany the speaker as fellow witnesses and focus on what is missing in the denials and fissures: “It is a luxury / to praise the abstract; / an abnegation // to notice only / the momentary holes”.116 In other words, it is precisely here that Regan grants readers up-close access to the subject(s) brilliantly opening up before them. In these recent works, like in the poems explored above from Some Integrity, Regan’s construction of a queer aesthetic offers readers the gift of being welcomed into sites of co-habitation that exault in a heightened sensory experience; such a spatial orientation, though, only becomes possible through the reader’s willingness to likewise honour and acknowledge Regan’s singling out of unassuming subjects, from sheep to apples and pumpkins, grounded in everyday interactions that “begin with: this vicious sympathy”.117

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Notes

1 Listen to the 8 May 2022 episode of The Poetry Programme focused on three queer poets from Belfast (Gail McConnell, Mícheál McCann and Padraig Regan) on RTÉ Radio 1, online: https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/the-poetry-programme/programmes/2022/0508/1296812-the-poetry-programme-sunday-8-may-2022.

2 This 2022 series of podcasts, Queer at Queen’s, reflects an expansion upon the more generally-themed podcasts of what’s new at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, online: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-seamus-heaney-centre-podcast/id1453042039.

3 Paul Maddern, “Introduction”, in Queering the Green: Post-2000 Queer Irish Poetry, Paul Maddern (ed.), Belfast, The Lifeboat Press, 2021, p. xxx.

4 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, Belfast, The Lifeboat Press, 2022, p. 17.

5 Sara Ahmed, Jackie Stacey, “Dermographies”, in Thinking through the Skin, Sara Ahmed, Jackie Stacey (eds.), London, Routledge, 2001, p. 1.

6 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Queering the Green…, p. xviii. “Salt Island” also appears in Padraig Regan, Some Integrity, Manchester, Carcanet, 2022, p. 71.

7 Prior to the publication of Some Integrity in 2022, Regan published two poetry pamphlets: Delicious, Belfast, The Lifeboat Press, 2016, and Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real, Birmingham, The Emma Press, 2017.

8 In conversation with Regan in July 2023, the poet explained that “Salt Island” had been slated as the last poem of Some Integrity until Regan’s Carcanet editor, John McAuliffe, suggested that the poem’s questioning lyrical gaze might better serve as the beginning of a conversation, as Maddern does in Queering the Green

9 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Some Integrity, p. 71.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 David Le Breton, Sensing the World: An Anthropology of the Senses, Carmen Ruschiensky (trans.), London, Routledge, 2020, p. 119.

13 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”, The Carcanet Blog, 12 January 2022, online: https://carcanetblog.blogspot.com/2022/01/some-interpretation-padraig-regan.html.

14 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, The Irish Itinerary Podcast, Katharina Rennhak (ed.), 13 October 2022, 23:36, online: https://www.efacis.eu/podcast. The in-person interview for EFACIS (European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies) was recorded at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast on 31 July 2022.

15 Ibid., 23:56.

16 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”.

17 Chris Boesel, Catherine Keller, “Introduction”, in Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation and Relationality, Chris Boesel, Catherine Keller (eds.), New York, Fordham University Press, 2010, p. 11.

18 Ibid., p. 12.

19 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 4.

20 Ibid., p. 22-23.

21 Ibid., p. 31.

22 Ibid., p. 26.

23 Ibid., p. 23.

24 Ibid., p. 3.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid., p. 3-4 (emphasis added).

27 Ibid., p. 17.

28 Ibid., p. 18.

29 Anne Carson, “Dirt and Desire: Essay on the Phenomenology of Female Pollution in Antiquity”, in Men in the Off Hours, New York, Knopf, 2000, p. 130 (emphasis added).

30 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 29.

31 Ibid., p. 15.

32 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others, Durham, Duke University Press, 2006, p. 55.

33 Ibid.

34 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 15.

35 Padraig Regan, “Glitch City”, in Some Integrity, p. 55.

36 Ibid., p. 47.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid.

39 In an attack on the queer community, forty-nine individuals were murdered and fifty-three were injured at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 12 June 2016.

40 Bruno Latour, Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime, Catherine Porter (trans.), Cambridge, Polity Press, 2017, p. 62.

41 Ibid.

42 Bruno Latour, After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis, Julie Rose (trans.), Cambridge, Polity Press, 2021, p. 53-54.

43 Ibid., p. 42.

44 Ibid., p. 12.

45 Ibid., p. 13.

46 Padraig Regan, “Pavlova”, in Some Integrity, p. 60.

47 Nigella Lawson, “Strawberry Pavlova Recipe”, The New York Times, 19 August 2003.

48 Padraig Regan, “Pavlova”, p. 60.

49 Ibid.

50 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, p. 55.

51 Ibid.

52 Padraig Regan, “Glitch City”, p. 54.

53 Ibid.

54 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 8.

55 Graham Ward, “The Metaphysics of the Body”, in Apophatic Bodies…, p. 229.

56 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, in Some Integrity, p. 71.

57 Ibid.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 See Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Richard Howard (trans.), New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981, p. 27: “[…] for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also a cast of the dice. A photographer’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me). […] they have no punctum in me: they please or displease me without pricking me”.

61 Padraig Regan, “Salt Island”, p. 71.

62 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 8:56-10:23.

63 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 125, no. 2, March 2010, p. 274.

64 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and Subversion of Identity, New York, Routledge, 1990, p. 133-134.

65 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.

66 Padraig Regan, “Our Personal Papers”, in Some Integrity, p. 38.

67 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 9:41.

68 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.

69 Ibid.

70 Padraig Regan, “Some Interpretation”.

71 Ibid.

72 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, p. 9.

73 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, in Some Integrity, p. 25.

74 Ibid.

75 Ibid.

76 Ibid. (emphasis added).

77 In an analysis of metapoesis, Heather H. Yeung explores how enjambment in Gunn’s “Considering the Snail” stands in for the snail’s movements (Heather H. Yeung, “Toeing and Breaking the Line: On Enjambment and Caesura”, in An Introduction to Poetic Forms, Patrick Gill (ed.), London, Routledge, 2023, p. 40).

78 Thom Gunn, “Considering the Snail”, in Selected Poems, Clive Wilmer (ed.), London, Faber and Faber, 2017, p. 41 (emphasis added).

79 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, p. 25 (emphasis added).

80 Thom Gunn, “Considering the Snail”, p. 41.

81 Ibid. (emphasis added).

82 Padraig Regan, “A Snail”, p. 25.

83 Ibid.

84 Ibid.

85 Ibid.

86 Ibid.

87 “36. Padraig Regan in Conversation with Jessica Bundschuh”, 16:41.

88 Ibid., 16:44.

89 Gertrude Stein, “A Sound”, in Tender Buttons [1914], Mineola, Dover Publications, 1997, p. 15.

90 Michel Delville, Food, Poetry, and the Aesthetics of Consumption: Eating the Avant-Garde, New York, Routledge, 2008, p. 44.

91 Richard Kearney, “Carnal Hospitality”, in Radical Hospitality: From Thought to Action, Richard Kearney, Melissa Fitzpatrick (eds.), New York, Fordham University Press, 2021, p. 56.

92 Padraig Regan, “Study of a Tomato”, in Some Integrity, p. 62-63.

93 Ibid.

94 Ibid.

95 Ibid.

96 Ibid.

97 Ibid.

98 Ibid.

99 Ibid.

100 Padraig Regan, “Risotto”, in Some Integrity, p. 23.

101 Ibid.

102 Ibid.

103 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, in Some Integrity, p. 68.

104 Padraig Regan, The Sensual City, p. 18.

105 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, p. 68.

106 Ibid.

107 Ibid.

108 Padraig Regan, “Fidelity”, in Some Integrity, p. 67.

109 Ibid.

110 Ibid.

111 Timothy Morton, “Queer Ecology”, p. 274.

112 Bruno Latour, After Lockdown…, p. 72.

113 Ibid.

114 Padraig Regan, “Four Torsos in the Fitzwilliam Museum: GR.18.1891 (Eros)”, The Poetry Review, vol. 113, no. 2, 2023, p. 29.

115 Ibid.

116 Padraig Regan, “This Video Has No Sound”, Poetry as Commemoration, University of College Dublin Library, 10 July 2023, online: https://www.poetryascommemoration.ie/poems/this-video-has-no-sound-by-padraig-regan.

117 Padraig Regan, “A Pumpkin”, p. 68.

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Jessica Bundschuh, « Queering Materiality in Northern Ireland: A Tactile Encounter with Padraig Regan »Études irlandaises, 49-1 | 2024, 15-31.

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Jessica Bundschuh, « Queering Materiality in Northern Ireland: A Tactile Encounter with Padraig Regan »Études irlandaises [En ligne], 49-1 | 2024, mis en ligne le 28 mars 2024, consulté le 28 mai 2024. URL : http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/etudesirlandaises/17813 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/etudesirlandaises.17813

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Auteur

Jessica Bundschuh

University of Stuttgart (Germany)

Jessica Bundschuh est maître de conférences en littérature et cultures anglophones à l’université de Stuttgart (Allemagne). Elle est titulaire d’un doctorat en littérature anglaise et écriture d’invention de l’université de Houston et d’un master en écriture d’invention de l’université du Maryland (États-Unis). Ses publications portent sur la poésie-performance irlandaise, les champignons et la poésie ekphrastique transnationale. Elles sont parues dans Review of Irish Studies in Europe, Ecozon@ : European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, Poetics Today, The Paris Review, Columbia Review, The Los Angeles Review, et Poem Unlimited : New Perspectives on Poetry and Genre (David Kerler, Timo Müller (éd.), Berlin – Boston, De Gruyter, 2019).

Jessica Bundschuh is a lecturer in English literatures and cultures at the University of Stuttgart (Germany). She has a PhD in English literature and creative writing from the University of Houston and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Maryland (United States). She has published on Irish performance poetics, mushrooms, and transnational ekphrastic poetry. Her publications have appeared in Review of Irish Studies in Europe, Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, Poetics Today, The Paris Review, Columbia Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Poem Unlimited: New Perspectives on Poetry and Genre (David Kerler, Timo Müller (eds.), Berlin – Boston, De Gruyter, 2019).

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