bodies, and other haunted houses
'All of this has been written before,
in the godless corners at the back of churches,
in the dirt of cotton-fields-corn-fields-battle-fields-
in the dirt, any way.'
- Queer Times, SL Grange
The winning entry of the Poetry Wales Pamphlet Competition 2021, as selected by Matthew Haig, Nia Morais, and Taz Rahman.
Described by judges as 'strong and self-assured', 'sheer gorgeous', and 'a dark and brooding collection that combines the visceral nature of the body with the ephemeral and supernatural', SL Grange's collection bodies, and other haunted houses, is a beautifully crafted exploration of identity which queers time as well as self.
Speaking from and for LGBTQIA+ communities, SL Grange gives a voice to lost transcestors (Where Are We Going, Mary Frith), celebrates acts of resistance (Resharpen Your Weapons, She Protests, Service), sings a gender-fluid love song (Sun-return), and hosts a tender-angry conversation with the ghosts of the personal and political histories that inhabit us. In true haunted house tradition, the non-human and the supernatural are also given rooms of their own; personal demons are summoned (White Poem, This Shit Is Killing You), we are entangled with our wilder sides (Under, Whales at Night). Witchcraft, seance and prophecy are invoked (Malkin Tower, Ritual For, The Glory, This Morning I) and brought up against sharp slices of reality (Cold Ham, Safe Words).
SL Grange is a queer writer, theatre-maker and multi-disciplinary artist. Their recent work includes A Note to Mary Frith, commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe for the Notes to Forgotten She-Wolvesseries; and of his family commissioned by Improbable for Fly the Flag 2020; and Wou D’Ulzecht, an audio-walk project with composer Catherine Kontz commissioned for European Capital of Culture 2022. She is currently engaged in a PhD exploring more ethical ways that we might ‘do’ Queer history, and in turn how that history might do us, which involves a conversation across 400 years with cross-dressing performer and trickster Mary Frith.
The Poetry Wales Pamphlet Competition is open only to writers living in the UK aged 18+ who have not previously published a collection and are currently under-represented in publishing in the UK, including working-class writers, writers of colour, disabled writers, neurodiverse writers and LGBTQI+ writers.