“This pamphlet explores more about the seriousness of my illness, but also the unexpected light.”
Hannah Hodgson is a poet living with life-limiting illness. Her work has been published by the Poetry Society, Teen Vogue and Poetry Saltzburg, amongst others. She is the recipient of a 2020 Northern Writers Award for Poetry. Her first poetry pamphlet Dear Body was published by Wayleave Press in 2018.
WHERE I'D WATCH PLASTIC TREES NOT GROW
Hannah has taken her regular hospitalization due to serious illness and made it into astonishing poetry. Her world of the hospital is sometimes like a zoo, sometimes like a gallery and sometimes a crowded town square. The wards contain tigers and crows, butterflies – doctors become poets, the dead turn into an art installation, while outside, the trees are plastic – as unchanging as Hannah’s shielding days that ‘drag like a foot.’
But between the pulled curtains of these words the details of real-life amongst the terminally ill are depicted in full colour. A daughter ‘cries neatly in a corner’ while her mourning father spins ‘his wedding band around his finger.’ Nurses fill ‘carrier bags marked ‘patient’s property’,’ while ‘the industrial plastic’ crinkles as a body is lifted from bed to trolley in its bag.
The poet’s eye feels unblinking at times – unable but also unwilling to blink. How could it when it has so much to show? These poems are heavy with import, but they are light with the liveliness of art that is beautifully rendered.
After the death of my stomach,
the church was full of mourners –
but at the 15th funeral of myself
it’s just me and a few doctors.
We lay wreathes by each ear
and seal each urn with a hearing aid mould.
I’m a widower grieving herself.
My stem still living,
while all the petals have died;
my body has begun to droop.
BREAKTHROUGH: OUR TIME
Commissioned by The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, this is an anthology of some of the newest and most exciting talents emerging in British Comics. Hannah worked closely with artist Michael Lightfoot to create a piece exploring disability in Britain today, published alongside other work exploring climate change activism, mental health issues in a multicultural society and romance in a post-Brexit world.
DEAR BODY (2018)
Hannah’s first pamphlet, Dear Body was published by Wayleave Press in 2018. An account fo her experiences suffering from an array of conditions that dramatically affect her life, this pamphlet raises questions about the relationship between person identity, the physical body and our place in the world.