‘This is sly, subtle, elliptical work, entrapping both subject and reader in something queasily human […] It’s the sign of a poet utterly in control of her gifts. This may seem a strange thing to say about a book so filled with unreliable narrators, but in Deformations Dugdale proves hers is a voice you can trust.’ Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph, Poetry Book of the Month
Deformations includes two large-scale works related in their preoccupation with biographical and mythical narrative. ‘Welfare Handbook’ explores the life and art of Eric Gill, the well-known English letter cutter, sculptor and cultural figure, who is known to have sexually abused his daughters. The poem draws on material from Gill’s letters, diaries, notes and essays as part of a lyrical exploration of the conjunction between aesthetics, subjectivity and violence. ‘Pitysad’ is a series of simultaneously occurring fragments composed around themes and characters from Homer’s Odyssey. It considers how trauma is disguised and deformed through myth and art. Acting as a bridge between these two works is a series of individual poems on the creation and destruction of cultural and mythical conventions.