Somatic Lab #15: Gathering

a movement and revisionary practice that uses Laban Movement exercises to investigate the experimental prose/poetry process

There is something about plopping and rolling in a pile of neatly raked leaves that is liberating: defiance in a season where the breath of desperation (of winter) is cold at your neck. We are fallen stars exploring space in the gesture of gather-scatter,1 limbs mimicking the twinkle lost in the expanding edges of harvest moons.

Sheila Packa embodies contraction-expansion [gather-scatter, fold-unfold, zoom-scan, exhale-inhale] as the words pulse from page to field to shoe to foot to leaf to page to word to sound to [ ]: her language wraps and releases delivering the reader into a landscape, a body, of story.

Somatic Lab #15 plays at the edge of revision and generation (fall and spring) by using movement to work through a text. Choose two texts: one that falls (or reaches) and one that floats (or arrives). These texts can be your own or borrowed. Rip the texts into leaf sized bits. INHALE: Place the pieces onto desired surface (table, floor, bed, lawn, valley, beach, parking lot, construction site, etc.). EXHALE: Scatter the pieces (blow, swipe, roll across, slide). INHALE: Gather the pieces (rake, scoop, stack, hook). Select two pieces
that call out to you and set aside. Repeat 5 times.

Use the leaf(lets) as found material to generate a new work. EXHALE: Write the connective tissue of the found pieces: the vein in leaf, the trace in pile.

1 A reference to describing movement in relation to space within
the kinesphere as applied in Laban Movement Analysis.


To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge.