Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo


posted on 2023-06-27, 05:46 authored by Paul Hetherington, Cassandra AthertonCassandra Atherton


Research statement

Background The human sense of touch is ‘the first sense to develop in the womb and the last sense one loses with age’ and yet it is often the most overlooked of the senses (Krishna 2012: 335). There is a special intimacy associated with touch because our skin is required to make physical contact in order to register touch – and, unlike the other senses, we have the ability to sense touch all over our bodies. This is one of the reasons why the somatic pleasure of touch has serious consequences when it is unwanted or forced; when it is a negative touch. This portfolio addresses the sense of touch as primal. Contribution This portfolio makes intertextual use of both Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (1977) and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets (2009) to explore powerful responses to sex through the charged utterances of love and heartbreak. Stephen M Phelps asks, ‘Can we learn how a fleeting touch drives a frenzied heart, or why the delay between contact and withdrawal can span a decade? An answer worthy of our effort should begin at the skin’s surface, yet somehow end in poetry’ (2017: n.p.). This portfolio honours that notion. Significance This prose poem was commissioned by editor, Helen Ivory, who is an award winning UK poet. Ink Sweat & Tears is a UK based webzine which publishes and reviews poetry, prose, prose-poetry, word & image pieces. This prose poem was shortlisted for the people's choice award.


Ink Sweat and Tears

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager