End of the line: An exploration into the creation and challenges of infertility poetry | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Performing Maternities: Part 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1979
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1987

Abstract

Infertility is an aspect of motherhood that is ‘Other’ and is broadly met with silence by the wider western society and its pronatalist culture. The silence surrounding infertility impacts our individual, mutual and cultural understandings of motherhood, as this silence arises from its taboo nature. Speaking up about any aspect of motherhood that is not typical is still treated as taboo, and the experiences of ‘atypical’ mothers, such as those who have experienced infertility, are still side-lined. The taboo nature of infertility, coupled with the grief and absence that define it, all contribute to the silence that surrounds it. This article is in the form of a lyric essay that combines my own poetry about infertility and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with a broader critical analysis about the challenges of writing about infertility. I intersperse my own infertility poetry with a close textual analysis of infertility poetry composed by contemporary western women poets, such as Kerry Priest, Gerrie Fellows and Julia Copus. This close reading highlights the poetics employed by these writers that recreate, reformulate and reinvent writing about infertility, and motherhood more broadly. Alongside my own poetry, I include a self-reflection that highlights how my poems challenge and resist the conventional approaches to performing maternity. This self-reflection also details how I utilized poetics to both present and represent the silence and absence of infertility’s ‘non-event’, and give it presence and language.

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/content/journals/10.1386/peet_00052_1
2022-12-30
2024-03-01
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): absence; atypical; infertile; poetics; pronatalism; silence
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