We have our Stirred: Reflect Workshop at Kim by the Sea tomorrow 5-7, using poetry techniques to explore your writing relating to mirrors.
On Monday we have Stirred: Mirrors, feminist performance poetry space welcome to all and sundry.
We have a bit of a tweetathon leading up to our performance night, you are encouraged to tweet us a mirror selfie @StirredPoetry. Why do this? I thought I’d take some time to explore what I think we can find in the theme of mirrors.
From Narcissus gazing at his reflection and dying for his own image, to Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray painting in the attic, the painting acting as a mirror of his soul’s descent into selfishness, mirrors have driven plots and fates.
What I want to draw attention to is that all of the paintings I’ve seen when we’ve been writing in Manchester Art Gallery have been of women reclining, still, reading, reflective, not doing, talking, moving. Paintings of nudes partially concealed/revealed by the mirror image, with the artist sat in the background, a triple set of eyes on the woman’s naked form. Take this painting by Walter Sickert which I’ve written about:
She is looking towards the viewer, and there is a second view of her in the mirror tilted away from her. Steph Pike mentioned it looks like there is a face in the mirror with the abstract marks and colourings you can see eyes and a nose. And she is still, she is posed, Anna Percy has written about this:
‘A fantasy of women whose hands do nothing there are maids with hooks who do up the rows and rows of buttons bone and pearl and shell to arrange that protected hair pile it up nest like over a coddled mind resting in the centre.’ (See full version here)
What I wanted to reflect on with the Mirror selfies was that now we are on the move, we are not still, reclining nudes posing for a viewer, but people whose actions count, whether it’s a snapshot in a cafe mirror or a car’s small slice of self:
However, there is a flip side to this, we are still surrounded by mirrors, still surrounded by patriarchy’s gaze and we see it reflected back at us everywhere, confronted with our own face and who we wants ourselves to be, who society wants us to be.
Let’s challenge this and grab back our reflections from this world.