Arctic Exploration and Processing Through Poetry
An Hour Without Catastrophe by Kylie Gellatly 
Photo by Riley Klein

Arctic Exploration and Processing Through Poetry

As the world continues its emergence from the mental and physical confines of the pandemic, the arts have proven to be a powerful tool for processing collective loss.

A new exhibit at the Cornwall Library in Cornwall, Conn., by visual poet Kylie Gellatly has aimed to “map the internal landscape of ambient grief” that so many people have experienced over the past three years.

The show, entitled “Time & Fever & Nothing More,” displayed a collection of visual poetry that was created by collaging text and images from “The Arctic Diary of Russell William Porter.”

“I put it into art form so that it wouldn’t blow away,” said Gellatly as she elaborated on her inspiration for bringing visuals to the poetry.

“I was struck by how much it reminded me of butchery,” she said in regard to cutting-out words and images from Porter’s diary for her art. “I just use the body and repurpose all the parts for as much as I can.”

Gellatly’s first in-person exhibit, which opened to the public on Saturday, March 11, represented the artwork for her 2021 publication “The Fever Poems.”

“Visual poetry is a really old practice but it’s having kind of a resurgence right now,” said Gellatly. “Everyone is really individually approaching it in their own way.”

Gellatly completed this project in June of 2020 and found parallels between that time and the experience described in Porter’s Arctic diary.

“The fragile yet harsh and unlivable conditions resonated with the time that I was creating this body of work and thinking about the precarity of both our corporeal and planetary bodies.”

 

Gellatly will have her work on view at The Cornwall Library through April 30.

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