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Bodies of Work

Spring 2010 | By Marianne Boruch. Photo by $photocredit.value.

Like the poetry it inspired, English Professor Marianne Boruch’s experience in Purdue’s Faculty Fellowships for Study in a Second Discipline has numerous layers of meaning.

First, the award-winning poet explored the visual and performing arts through Professor Grace O’Brien’s course in life drawing. Using what she learned in her art course, Boruch added a third layer to her study when she drew what she saw and sensed during a gross human anatomy laboratory class offered on the West Lafayette campus through the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The 22-year CLA faculty member reports that she also received creative advice from a resident muse of the storied lab. “One of the cadavers we dissected insisted on taking over,” says Boruch. “I didn’t go easily, but she basically pushed me aside to speak for herself, to give her take on life on the planet.

“Though detail and event are directly drawn from what I noticed, I imagined a great deal, in particular all the personal bits having to do with my wily speaker’s life.

”That unique combination continues to inspire what will be her eighth collection of poems, excerpted at left with her artwork, as well as Cadaver, Speak: Poems from the Dissection Lab, an eclectic reading of a completed sequence in that manuscript, performed last October by medical students and poets enrolled in Purdue’s MFA program in creative writing.

“I wanted to share the exciting interdisciplinary nature of the fellowship I received and bring together groups deeply committed either to poetry or medicine,” says Boruch. “In the usual scheme of things, they might never meet.”

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