Ph.D. Candidate, Liz Bowen, Publishes First Collection of Poetry

Liz Bowen

Ph.D. Candidate Liz Bowen has written her first book of poetry, Sugarblood. Like Bowen’s scholarly work, the collection is rooted in disability and human-animal studies, areas of inquiry, Bowen explains, that are bound by a related set of questions: “What does it mean to embody animality in the face of dehumanizing histories and politics? When are care and interdependency workable foundations for ethics, and when / who do they fail? How might we imagine a politics of illness?” Unlike her critical writing, Bowen says the collection of poetry approaches these issues “by incorporating more of an attention to form, more of an autobiographical perspective, and more questions than answers.”

Bowen wrote Sugarblood over five years, a period she says was characterized by starts and fits of writing. During her first few semesters at Columbia, Bowen recalls being focused almost exclusively on research and seminars. It was only after those first semesters and the dissolution of a partnership that Bowen felt that literary research alone was unsustainable, explaining that “poetry was one of a handful of significant things that re-opened for me when I began insisting on centering an intellectual life outside of my academic work.” During the process, Bowen found her artistic output is not only compatible with her scholarly work, but deeply generative: “I really had to learn—in a hard way, maybe, but a valuable one—that creative work is not a distraction from or burden on my scholarly work, but actually nourishes and complements it.”

Natalie Eilbert, founding editor of The Atlas Review, writes: “For Bowen to give language to humanity, she must also spell its animate failures. She remarks, ‘people are afraid of being animals / the distinguishable churn / of a body alive.’ The body is a literal frothing animal or it is a theory of the cyborg or it is the insulin pump falling out mid-run.” Carina Del valle Schorske, poet, translator, and fellow Ph.D. candidate in the department, praises Sugarblood for its manifesto-like quality, one that “question[s] the necessity of the cages where humans and other animals are ‘kept.’’

Sugarblood is published by Metatron Press, an independent publisher based in Montreal, and is available Amazon, Powell’s Books, and through the publisher store.


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