On Not Getting a Caird Research Fellowship… by Naomi Foyle
By Wasafiri Editor on January 3, 2023 in Poetry
In this sharp, rhythmic poem from Naomi Foyle, a catalogue of items serves to dissect a long legacy of colonialism and racism, and challenges the inherent violence in the ways we archive and perpetuate the British Empire.
On Not Getting a Caird Research Fellowship to Support a Poetic Investigation into ‘Whiteness’ in the Royal Museums Greenwich Collections and Site
The colour of Queen’s House; Elizabeth’s lead mask, lace and pearls;
in room after room, the silk dresses of queens, child princesses,
young Lady Keppel and her ‘unknown Black companion’; an array
of Admirals’ trousers; Michelle Stuart’s ‘white frogs’ and mis-hung
prints; the luminous torsos of mermaids; the Delftware, ship’s
crockery and 1950s cruise liner luggage in the large ground-floor
display case in the National Maritime Museum; Nelson’s bridal
death sheet; cotton and tobacco flowers in the Atlantic Gallery
[‘currently under review’]; Polar Worlds; the meridian in relation to
default standards; April snow on the Elizabeth Oak; the moon and
stars viewed from the Royal Observatory…
Naomi Foyle is the author of three poetry collections: The Night Pavilion, a Autumn 2008 Poetry Book Society Recommendation and The World Cup (2010) both from Waterloo Press, and Adamantine (Red Hen/Pighog Press, US/UK, 2019). She has also published several pamphlets, including Red Hot & Bothered (Lansdowne Press, 2003), winner of the 2008 Apples and Snakes ‘The Book Bites Back’ Competition, Grace of the Gamblers: A Chantilly Chantey (Waterloo Press, 2010) and No Enemy but Time (Waterloo Press, 2017). As an editor for Waterloo Press, Survivors Poetry (London) and Lagan Press (Belfast), Naomi Foyle has edited twenty full-length poetry collections, including The Privilege of Rain by David Swann (Waterloo Press, 2010), shortlisted for the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, Tantie Diablesse by Fawzia Muradali Kane, shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and Blue Wallpaper by Robert Hamberger, shortlisted for the 2020 Polari Prize. She is also the editor of the bilingual anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry (Smokestack Books, 2017).
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash.