Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly’s first collection, A Map Towards Fluency, was published by Carcanet in 2019. She is a regular host of poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House, London, and has been running Bijou Torriano live events during the pandemic within COVID guidelines.

Her latest pamphlet, From The IKEA Back Catalogueis published by New Walk Editions 2021, and includes Personalise Your POÄNG and Seagull which she reads in the short films below.

“These poems came out of an intense time spent in IKEA ferrying my daughter to the Wembley store for her art project on Scandinavian furniture.

I think a lot of poets have an IKEA poem, but rather than focus on my shopping experiences in the superstore, I became obsessed by the language and the IKEA marketing speak. As my daughter was sketching and thinking about the visuals, with time to really study each ‘ideal room’ that telegraphs a particular lifestyle, I looked for the messages and the information customers are encouraged to buy into. I was also fascinated by the acts of customer sabotage and graffiti I discovered when I looked closely enough. An online IKEA dictionary generated further ideas about how Swedish words and names, both real and made up, are manipulated to seduce us. I hope, also, apart from being playful and exploring how language is used by big corporations, the poems raise questions about sustainability and the effect ‘out-with-the-old’ has on us as individuals living in a disposable culture. My preoccupation with the slipperiness of language and alternative perceptions because of my deafness finds its way into these poems, but at a slant. The act of ‘translation’, using a Swedish dictionary to find out the real meanings of product names, was a stimulus for some magical thinking, an escape from corporation speak and the environment/lifestyle/dystopia that IKEA and many big businesses are invested in keeping us situated in for as long as possible because, without our compliance, they would cease to exist.”
(Prefatory note to From the Ikea Back Catalogue pamphlet)

Find out more about Lisa on her website and Twitter, and on StAnza’s website.