* Culture, Featured, Sexuality

Metamorphic and Fairy Tale Wanderings in England & Beyond

In this article Natalie Rose Dyer draws on literature to explore a divergent womanhood in relation to the trope of wandering. She explores how desire can be invested in the social field for a woman phenomenologically against-the-grain of societal expectation. This is the first in a series of articles exploring wandering through literature, film and art to the wild zone.

The first literary work to really take me to the wild zone was Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Orlando transgresses through wandering, undergoes metamorphoses in relation to her/his/beyond desires, which are abundant. Orlando becomes monarch, lover, diplomat, woman, gypsy, and poet – finds Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine and a country mansion before attending to finishing the epic poem The Oak Tree, which is finally published, proclaimed. At the time of reading Orlando I lived in London – holed up in a garret back-of-house at Browns Hotel, Mayfair. I was twenty years old. I worked in front office by day and in the evenings doubled as a turn down maid. This flagrant disregard for social mores got me into trouble – Australian naive blithely unconcerned for an entrenched class system. I transgressed with my industrious drive to make an extra buck. I was paid a pittance by the hotel for my front office post, a measly stipend, on which I couldn’t make ends meet.

I was undergoing a professional work placement as part of my dubious efforts to become a hotel manager – not my calling. I’d only just survived my training at Regency College, Adelaide, in which I also completed a Cordon Bleu – an antipodean version of Swiss finishing school for fuck ups with bourgeois parents. I had completely checked out of my final years at high school – an emotional wreck based on a dysfunctional home life. London was my great escape. Although I’d wanted Berlin, the visa couldn’t be arranged. So, I somewhat embarrassingly tread a tenuous rite of passage to the colonial motherland. Just about the first thing said to me after I arrived by a shit-stirring cabbie was: ‘Up from the colony are you love?’ with a barely suppressed snigger. Perhaps I wasn’t so much wandering as straying desperately from my colonial upbringing – right into the arms of the oppressor. Still, I was getting away from my family – blowing apart Oedipus.

French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari famously inform us that we’ve all been Oedipalised – in other words imperialised by a filial law of the father under patriarchy. And yet, in their view Freud’s emphasis on the Oedipal myth obscures the truly significant discovery of psychoanalysis, which is ‘…the production of desire, of the productions of the unconscious’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1985, p. 24). Deleuze and Guattari encourage us to explore a specific production of desire linked with the therapeutic release of a man subject through advocating non-pathological ego-loss. Their becoming woman of history can be framed in terms of a trans mobilisation of desire, which is valuable.

And yet, women also experience valuable mobilisations of their desires, which are different and have historically not been valued culturally.

What appears to be omitted in Deleuze and Guattari’s work is the objective desire of a woman in the world – for real – that is as a form of phantasm. Deleuze and Guattari advise us that: ‘The phantasmal world is the world which has never fully been conquered over’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1985, p. 28). It is the realm that artists, revolutionaries and seers draw on, many of whom have been women. When women identify abyssal openings in the operations of discourse they journey to the cusp of the known world, cross-over into liminal space to retrieve a strain of desire, which is associate with the animal and the plant realm, as well as the molecular and the imperceptible. They find their way nearest the edge, closest to the fairy tale wood, on the other side of reason, on the cusp of so-called civilisation – they stray into the wilderness.

So, alone in London aged twenty, on the cusp of a sexual awakening of sorts insofar as I was terribly constrained, almost remittent with fear. It was the mid-90s. I wandered to Carnaby street looking for a reincarnation of Westwood and McLaren’s sex shop. I indulged my minoritarian dose of perversion by purchasing PVC pants. I ventured by tube to Camden market, where I marveled, bought countless bootleg tapes. First heard Cantaloupe with Herbie Hancock on trumpet. Listened to John Coltrane’s Equinox. Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell were on constant rotation in my shabby back-of-house room at Browns Hotel. I discovered Miles Davis later on. I bought a flashy new black leather jacket at Camden market, which I paired with black velvet pants and a turquoise mohair jumper – I blame Björk. Black platform heels were standard – that had something to do with a Gothic residue. My hair was stark black. I had a nose ring. I was becoming myself in the métier of the thriving marketplace – self-styling. I’d often sequester myself at the Jazz Café, read books, mostly Herman Hess novels. I particularly alighted to Siddhartha. The Glass Bead Game was too sterile for my tastes. I wanted the river – to drift toward my fate in a Byzantium canoe, a foreign script etched into a vessel bearing my name, all my candles burning, having broken out of my confinement, journeyed across the world.

At this time of initial forays I frequently returned to the Tate Britain to sit in front of John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shallot (1988) who is cursed and sent down the river. Waterhouse depicts part IV from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem of the same title.

And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

What was it that so moved me about this poem and its depiction at age twenty? It meant something about breaking a curse, which I felt had been put on me as a young woman – it was about rupturing Oedipus. An imperial legacy of man’s desire – not my own. It took a long time before I got any real capability with postcolonial critique, so as to uncover my own phantasmagorical desire for real. Even if I did try to let my desires run rampant – engaged in bad sex with strangers. First stranger was a Lithuanian man whose name I can no longer recall. He was an inept albeit attractive blond skinhead. I met him in a lock in on Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill. He said I looked French – first warning, approached me from the other side of the bar. He took me out to see a film, kept pawing me, unrelentingly kissing me, overly keen – second warning. Afterwards I fairly fled the scene never to meet him again. Sex with another inept guy from Adelaide – highly incompatible. Sex with a friend’s friend in a Camden bedsit – troubled by the fact that he was a Gemini and I am a Scorpio, so therefore doomed to throes of misadventure. Sex with myself much better. Sex with various non-deplumes. At age twenty I went wandering in vagaries of nubile flesh, but was not satisfied.

In Carter’s short story The Erl-King, collected in The Bloody Chamber, a mature girl on the cusp of womanhood wanders into the autumnal wood, not a forest, everyone knows they’re murderous places. By contrast woods bring about the potential for animal transformations and unsettling transgressions. It is with respect to Little Red Riding Hood that Carter positions her narrative, albeit analogous to girlish naivety, exposing to the reader the prospect of getting lost, of not getting out of the wood, which is of course the danger of straying after all – the possibility of losing one’s way albeit in order to thereafter truly find one’s way in the world. We all know about the danger associated with the wolf in the fairy tale. And yet, it seems far more likely that the newly menstruating not so Little Red Riding Hood undergoes lycanthropy and becomes a wolf herself, rather than his victim. (What is actually little in the tale is Red’s clitoral hood most likely doused in the blood of menarche). The Erl-King is a wolf of sorts and he brings about a sexual devouring, which is both dazzling and dangerous by turns. His eyes are lycanthropic – first warning. They convey a diabolical phosphorescent green, soaked in woods, made so by eating of the woods, all its vegetal offerings: nettles, chickweed, fungi, dandelion. He knows a ‘lore of herbs’– of ‘thyme, marjoram, sage, vervain, southern wood, yarrow,’ which distinguishes him (Carter, 1996, p.188-9). It is as if he’s come into being by desire of the woods. Of course, he’s irresistible to the girl fast becoming a woman who enters the woods in search of him.

The Erl-King has superstitions – woodsman rituals. He can be found by bird-song. He collects songbirds, cages them – second warning. In his woodsman cottage made of branches and lichen he has a wall of cages filled with songbirds. He whistles with an elder-twig to suture the ‘sweetest singers’ who flock to him, succumb to his wolfishness. He wants to put the girl-woman in one of his carefully wrought cages. He’s woven one specially with osier twigs just for her. But, she’s smarter than him – she’s no victim. Though she’s wedded to him in the truest sense of the word, through carnality, by way of a phenomenology of human touch, through his caresses, by way of pleasure, by order of an unlawful sung sensuality, which has put a kind of hex on her, made her temporarily think she’s beholden to him – she’s able to cast off the spell. As he rests his head on her lap dreaming she takes his hair in ropes, gently twists its lengths, takes them around his neck – strangles him. She then hurries to set all the caged birds free. They instantly transform back into girls with Erl-King’s crimson love bite fixed on their necks. He has made his mark on each. Then the nameless lover of the Erl-King uses a few of his ash-brown hairs to restring the old fiddle that hangs on the wall of his dwelling, which thereafter plays itself. It sings of the Erl-King’s demise, issues a warning. When straying into the woods be ready to be seduced by a wolfish man with woodsman airs – succumb to him. If he asks your pleasure, tell him your pleasure – take your pleasure. But, do not let him imprison you in a reductive ideal of womanhood. Freely become yourself instead, go your own way. Don’t become the caged bird, rather stray to the wild zone. Then return – tell your story.

Of course, D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley goes wandering into the woods in search of a woodsman who will devour her. She finds the gamekeeper. An untamable voice swells in her through sheer need, it says: Go to the man with the house at the pulp of stars, go to the man with woodsman airs as Lady Chatterley. Go through wanting to know things. Squat in fields of wildflowers, behind butterflies coupling, amongst frogs chanting. Take him in your mouth throbbing as a gun of gleam, let his fingers at the helm of your sex riding wet scallions of gold, your vulva half-lipped. Swallow-law-of-suns, let his abdomen on your back at the juncture of bliss, at crux of all that lives. Let him give over his death in you and give him your death too. Then afterwards, when rain blabbers at the cottage door, go to the fireplace, strip to your skins, show him your rear, its pink helved half-light in the midden of thought – opening to worlds. He should register every inurement of flesh worn by life – ride its crease of humanity. Of course, Lady Chatterley is of aristocratic birth and she is older than Carter’s girl-woman protagonist in The Erl-King. Her set of circumstances are different, but she too experiences an awakening to an animal desire for mate ship in the woods.

I know I was in the woods in London because I almost got lost – that time walking home to Mayfair down from Oxford Square and getting followed, a man hung back in the shadows, but stayed too long on my drift. I hastened into a nightclub, sought sanctuary there a while. That other time at the infamous Earls Court, lost in backstreets late at night, pre google maps, tailed for a few blocks by a man who I finally threw off by entering a hotel, waited half an hour, then ran for my life to the train station. Oh to be twenty – a vagrant time when experimentation is key. The possibility of getting lost is at the fore. Around that time I met a girl named Louise who also worked and lived at Browns Hotel, hailed from County Cork, Ireland. We became friends – immediately kindred. I’ll never forget that night when it was her birthday (I discovered afterwards) – I let her down by not going out with her. I was utterly exhausted from working multiple shifts and overdoing the extra-curricular. She cried in the greasy yellow tiled staff cafeteria at Browns Hotel, a pathetic affair. She was dating the doorman with the acne scars who manned the door at the nearby Ritz Hotel – a cad. He most certainly was not a wolf. Soon after that night Louise went back to resume her Arts Degree in Cork and we lost touch.

My mother turned up in London unexpectedly on my twenty-first birthday, took me to the Ritz for champagne, then to Bruges for the weekend. I was an asshole the entire time. She had violated the coda – I was astray and she came after me. I was Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, come of age, on my way to grandmothers house – hoping to meet a wolf. I was wayfaring, albeit faltering badly. I was The Lady of Shalott sailing in a Byzantium canoe down to Camelot, ending a curse – entering liminal space, dying to the family, getting reborn to myself. I wanted to hear The Lady of Shalott sing – hear her under-watery swain voice, a peripatetic flow. Jailed. Isolated. Ritually separated. Strewn on a velvet bed. I wanted to rip her apart from the law of the father – to give myself back to myself. I wanted to reclaim my animalistic procreative embodiment, all of it, not just the seemly parts. I wanted to flow to Camelot, no not to Camelot.

Afterall, The Lady of Shalott wants to don a ‘red cloak’ like the market girls – the peasants girls. She wants to go rogue in the woods – to find her wolf. But, she’s held captive by a menstrual curse with the weight of history put on her. All of the folk who pass by her lonely tower are crimson clad! All is animated by the moon – the wombs menstrual symbol. All waxes and wanes as the Lady of Shallot waits – sick in the patriarchal shadows. But, who can save her? A red-cross knight – the red cross night – all is menstrual, all is flowing to Camelot. He comes for her as a ‘burning flame’– a meteor. He sings Tirra lirra, lures her, sutures her ‘watery flower.’ He makes her look at him – comes to offer a sexual rite. He gives her a little death. Clearly, he fucks her and ruins her, or else he sets her free. Let each girl who newly menstruates sing out her ‘death song.’ Let her sing her own ‘longdrawn carol,’ let her chant, turn to face her fate – take her chances. Let her flow downstream to the other life – the real life – the phantasmagorical one. On toward the woods – to hell with the Arthurian world.

Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley eventually finds the oak wood and the game-keeper, secluded, inviolate, shut off from the world – the heart of England – an oak wood in the midlands. After some time Connie starts to visit the wood on a daily basis. Lawrence writes: ‘In the wood all was utterly inert and motionless, only great drops fell from the bare boughs, with a hollow little crash. For the rest, among the old trees was depth within depth of grey, hopeless inertia, silence, nothingness’ (Lawrence, 2018, p.93). When Connie discovers the gamekeeper at the back of his cottage naked from the waist up washing himself she undergoes a ‘visionary experience,’ which is embodied (Lawrence, 2018, p.94). Lawrence testifies to a phenomenology of women’s embodiment that hinges on the womb as an essential source of sexual desire, which must be sated. He talks a lot about Connie’s womb like he wants one. ‘Connie had received the shock of vision in her womb, and she knew it; it lay inside her’ (Lawrence, 2018, p.94). What is it? What lays inside of her? What is enwombed? What is essential to her nature? Is it life itself? Or is it death? Or is it both? Is it cyclicity? A wilderness accessed? The twitch of a womb throbbing like an all-seeing eye – like the gamekeepers eye on her, he sees into her wombs desire – it makes her uneasy.

French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty advocates phenomenology as a conceptual framework that emphasises the body as the primary cite of knowing the world – the entire body as the apparatus of consciousness – le corps proper (Merleau-Ponty, 2002, p.vii). Merleau-Ponty’s work seems to me the connective tissue, which remains invisible in Deleuze and Guattari’s work. For they suggest that the child is a metaphysical being, which conveys a strain of desire that exists beyond societal law, which is embodied and can be drawn on – brought to consciousness. But, in order to draw on that elsewhere, that outside of the capitalist machine, the child grown into an adult must undergo this non-pathological death of the ego. He must practice French poet Antonin Artaud’s art of dying. According to Artaud it is possible to know death as a depth of experience, which he compares to the dream experience, as a means of excavating the repressed contents of the psyche. He says: ‘I am going to die for the second time’– today, this hour, this second (Artaud, 1988, p.122). And so, Deleuze and Guattari advocate this rupture from social networks of power that a subject might choose to undertake by drawing on their anomalous desires, finding another biopsychical relation to the world, unindoctrinated by the capitalist machinations of production. Why? Because of Hitler. Because of fascism. Because of the Holocaust. Because Trump was elected to office and so on. Fascism lives in the body – it gets in. How? By way of plug ins – human desire is embodied and plugs into the capitalist machine – it goes both ways – you can get plugged into.

Deleuze and Guattari advocate finding another way of inhabiting the body – to this end they advocate the becoming woman of history. There is a womb in Deleuze and Guattari’s work – a misplaced essence. A schizoid womb? An hysterical one? For Deleuze and Guattari draw back to the non-being of man, that is, over and above a woman proper, in order to initiate a strain of becoming, which is transgressive. They want to emphasise our creatureness, our aptitude for wedding the wilderness, and yet still partially within the confines of a phallocentrism. They explore man becoming woman in order to find an anomalous strain of desire aligned with animalism, which women are closest to on account of having a womb – and associative reproductive capabilities – a fertility cycle. But, what is becoming other for a woman? This is uncolonised terrain – it is a pathway into the woods.

When I lived in London I had an inkling of a wild strain of desire based in animalism, a pathway in the woods, but I had not yet discovered my pleasure for real – my jouissance. I had not yet come to writing as such. My libidinal desires were wayfarer strands on the wind. I was too tame to really go rogue – to cast off. Or perhaps I did by way of drug taking, by way of experimentation, by way of dancing. I recall wearing my pvc pants to The Atlantic nightclub, holding court at Dicks Bar, drinking into the wee hours. I remember dancing at The Fridge in Brixton – snorting speed, cavorting all night. I recall the Leisure Lounge in Holborn, Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill, house parties, various haunts in Soho – a hedonistic phantasmagoria. That horrid ecstasy pill I took – I didn’t experience the euphoria promised, but rather a kind of terrifying breaking down of boundaries, which I had to hold myself against, as if I was actively keeping myself from dis-assemblage, warding off the drug. By contrast cocaine was a way of stridently making forays into the unknown – it was all false swagger and sanguine confidence. That time at the party in Edgware Road when I sniffed the entire contents of the baggy I could not seem to negotiate the simultaneous desire to wildly dance, chat manically with strangers, and expel the shite from my increasingly cramping bowels ridden with narcotic. In the end I went home, took a good look at myself in the mirror and decided to find other ways of straying. Of course, there was the adopting of affectations like penciling a black beauty spot on my face like Eddie Sedgewick, smoking cigarillos and dressing idiosyncratically. Attending to the vagaries, the desire to stray from the norm, to go into the woods was strong in me.

Lady Chatterley enters the woods through sheer need – with death constricting her. She becomes listless, hollows out, goes rail thin. She feels her imminent burial in the ‘filthy Midlands,’ the coal dredging Midlands, which is after all her husband’s line of work – for he runs the capitalist machine no less (Lawrence, 2018, p.108). Lawrence writes of the dangers of exclusive worship of ‘the bitch Goddess,’ a term he takes from William James who uses it in a letter to H.G. Wells, meant to engender the trappings of material success. A pejorative term that Lawrence applies to Clifford’s character and Connie’s (aka Lady Chatterley’s) growing distaste with him – her growing need to stray into the woods in pursuit of her wolfishness by way of the pleasures of the flesh. For Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a critique of the entrenched British class system and the entire capitalist apparatus. No doubt Lawrence sought to bring about his own anomalous flow by way of writing, as a means of going beyond. As I already pointed out, Deleuze and Guattari, in addition to a plethora of others, attribute to the artist, the revolutionary, the seer with the aptitude for straying into the realm of the phantasmagorical, which is a world that hasn’t been conquered over, that is as a means of opting out of exclusive and ongoing investment of desire in the capitalist machine (Deleuze and Guattari, 1985, p.28).

The woods are flagrant with phantasmagoria – they always have been. What a terrifying reality we face – climate catastrophe – extinction of trees and animal species. Isn’t the true heart of England the woods? Isn’t the true task to preserve them as Clifford ascribes? This is what semi-Australian feminist, more British feminist, and climate activist Germaine Greer has so aptly recognised, revolutionary that she is, has always been, on whose shoulders all feminists stand – buying and resuscitating Cave Creek in Southern Queensland, Australia. Brexit – really?

Safeguarding borders is xenophobic rubbish, a regressive nationalism. The real revolution today is in buying land and planting trees, as well as preserving old growth forests – it’s about safeguarding biodiversity irrespective of borders.

Lawrence rather prophetically speculates about the future in Lady Chatterley’s Lover by way of the character Olive, who is reading a book on the future.

‘It’s quite time man began to improve on his own nature, especially the physical side of it.’
‘Imagine if we floated like tobacco smoke,’ said Connie.
‘It won’t happen,’ said Dukes. ‘Our old show will come flop; our civilization is going to fall. It’s going down the bottomless pit, down the chasm. And believe me, the only bridge across the chasm will be the phallus!’
‘Oh do! DO be impossible, General!’ cried Olive.
‘I believe our civilization is going to collapse,’ said Aunt Eva.
‘And what will come after it?’ asked Clifford.
‘I haven’t the faintest idea, but something, I suppose,’ said the elderly lady…

… ‘There might even be real men, in the next phase,’ said Tommy. ‘Real, intelligent, wholesome men, and wholesome nice women! Wouldn’t that be a change, an enormous change from us? WE’RE not men, and the women aren’t women. We’re only cerebrating make-shifts, mechanical and intellectual experiments. There may even come a civilization of genuine men and women, instead of our little lot of clever-jacks, all at the intelligence-age of seven. It would be even more amazing than men of smoke or babies in bottles.’
‘Oh, when people begin to talk about real women, I give up,’ said Olive.

Lawrence goes onto call for the resurrection of the body by way of the character Duke – suffice to say that the bridge across the chasm of imploding civilisation surely will not be a phallus. I’m with Olive – men talking about women sickens them, let them speak for themselves. Even though Lawrence does seem to have an aptitude for comprehending his own otherness, it’s just that, his feminine otherness, not a woman as such. And neither is Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming woman for a man. Rather, it is a trans-mobilisation of desire, which is valuable, but cannot account for a woman straying into the woods. It cannot account for a woman’s wolfishness.

After Louise left London I was supposed to visit her in Cork for the October Jazz Festival, but never made it. The plan had been to thereafter travel through Europe, working in bars and restaurants along the way. Of course, it was entirely unfeasible, given that the wages were hideously low. After Browns Hotel I undertook a stint working at Oriel Wine Bar in Sloane Square. Then nannied for a minor pop star – a disaster. I soon returned to Melbourne to undertake a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I had to come to writing first – to learn to speak my multifarious desires. And so, the journey remains – a libidinal scar that wants tracing. I ponder straying back to London, taking to the woods, specifically Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, in the Midlands – Lady Chatterley terrain. Then going beyond, uncovering Orlando’s oak tree further north, finding the heart of England. On to Ireland and The Cork Jazz Festival. And, what of Berlin? It too awaits. Although there have been many travels since my time living in London, it’s as if a root-print sings to me from a sublimated level, a kind of folk-hearted sonnet, which tells of the woods – and beyond.

Of course, it is Woolf who ultimately accounts for a woman’s ability to stray by way of her enigmatic figure Orlando. For Orlando communes with the talismanic oak tree, intertwines his desire in its fretted network of roots, in order to undergo personal metamorphoses, and thereafter continually be reborn to otherness, and so to poetry. Orlando is a young aristocratic apprentice nature poet of the sixteenth century who we might discern doesn’t start out terribly gifted, for he suffers from writing in an overly abstracted manner. Thankfully he improves over time owing to the fact that he becomes a woman. In Seamus Heaney terms he is all divining, but has very little technique, which he must subsequently learn from other mentor poets, as W.H. Auden advises in his essay The Dyer’s Hand.

Still, Orlando does possess the gift of ‘raiding the inarticulate,’ for he learns the art of dying expertly, so that he may access the bowels, come face to face with sublimated fields of consciousness – perpetually live again in verse – be reborn a woman. He takes a master, in the form of Nick Greene, mimics him and learns the craft – thereafter finds his own way.

He sighed profoundly, and flung himself– there was a passion in his movements which deserves the word–on the earth at the foot of the oak tree. He loved, beneath all this summer transiency, to feel the earth’s spine beneath him; for such he took the hard root of the oak tree to be; or, for image followed image, it was the back of a great horse that he was riding, or the deck of a tumbling ship–it was anything indeed, so long as it was hard, for he felt the need of something which he could attach his floating heart to; the heart that tugged at his side; the heart that seemed filled with spiced and amorous gales every evening about this time when he walked out. To the oak tree he tied it and as he lay there, gradually the flutter in and about him stilled itself; the little leaves hung, the deer stopped; the pale summer clouds stayed; his limbs grew heavy on the ground; and he lay so still that by degrees the deer stepped nearer and the rooks wheeled round him and the swallows dipped and circled and the dragonflies shot past, as if all the fertility and amorous activity of a summer’s evening were woven web-like about his body (Woolf, year, p. 16-17).

Like Orlando, I tied my heart to a root-book, which ruptured, brought about a magnificent adventure to become myself for real, that is, to become other – a magnificent weed. I uncovered a rhizome on my family root-tree whilst living in London, from which to spring off, forge myself. I stumbled back to Melbourne poor, wretchedly dissatisfied, but increasingly aware that I belonged to ‘a sacred race’ descended of writers. And so, I started my writers apprenticeship by way of a Bachelor of Arts Degree, at The University of Melbourne. I began to take mentors, to learn my craft as a poet. I pulled myself up by my boot straps, paid my living expenses by working in a theatre bar, moved into countless share houses in the St Kilda and Fitzroy area – started to find my way.

Natalie Rose Dyer 

Natalie Rose Dyer completed her PhD in Creative Writing at Melbourne University, Australia (2017). She earned an MFA (2010) with an Australian Postgraduate Award, also from The University of Melbourne. Her poetry and essays appear in esteemed literary journals such as: Meanjin Quarterly, Australian Poetry, Cordite, The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellors Anthology, Chiron Review, Wisconsin Review and more. Natalie recently completed a Residency at the University of Amsterdam. She currently teaches in The Creative Writing Program at Deakin University, Melbourne.