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Yrsa Daley-Ward: The body is a trap


The author Yrsa Daley-Ward began as a poet on Instagram. In her book "Everything That Has Happened," she talks about female sexuality, addiction, and depression.

To understand writing as a process of healing and to tell it frankly is rather rare in the literary world. The 30-year-old author Yrsa Daley-Ward, however, speaks openly about it. In the US, where an all-new book, Everything That Happens, appeared in 2018, they did not let that irritate them, and Ward received much recognition from the critics.

Yrsa Daley-Ward, daughter of a Jamaican mother and an unknown Nigerian father, was born in Northern England in 1989 and now lives in London and Los Angeles. In everything that has happened, she tells of her difficult childhood, her family, her self-destructive youth in many ways, to the point where she discovers writing at about the age of twenty-five. This kind of coming-of-age memo is Daley-Ward's second book.

She began her literary career in social media, more precisely as one of the so-called Instapoets: young authors and authors who post short and accessible poems on Instagram, often along with attractive photos or illustrations. While some are looking forward to exploring the exclusivity of poetry - some of the Instapoets have well over 100,000 followers - others are annoyed by the alleged degeneration of high art.

In fact, the literary quality varies greatly, some post more reminiscent of nicely worded calendar quotes. Clearly positive is the diversity, which thus reaches the lyricist dominated by white authors. Some of the most successful Instapoetss are Women of Color, such as the Indian-Canadian author Rupi Kaur. And many express themselves explicitly feminist.

Daley-Ward, a feminist and LGBTQ * activist, also appears as a Spoken Word performer and has her own Instagram poetry first collected in a book. In 2017, Bones was then relocated by Penguin Books.

In all that has happened these origins are clearly visible, here the short lyrical form reappears and alternates with longer prose passages. The whole book is a mixed form and also experiments with the design of texts and typography. The chapters are short and sometimes consist of only a few lines, some of which are clearly recognizable as poems. The language often seems almost sober, at the same time pointed; then the tone soft and gentle or the sentences overtake each other in an almost manic way.

She begins in her childhood, tells of her once radiant mother Marcia, who exhausts herself as a nurse in night shifts, associates with changing men, from whom she experiences little support and whom the children experience rather as threatening than facing. Daley-Ward's much older brother got Marcia as a teenager, growing up with the devout grandparents. Then the mother sends her and later her beloved little brother Little Roo - there she is eight and Marcia may no longer leave the premature daughter at night with her current partner under one roof:

"The red house is dangerous
I am dangerous
or I am dangerous, and the house is dangerous
or we are dangerous to each other.
My body is too big for the house.

The body as a trap,
as a trapdoor in a haunted room. "

Source: zeit

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