ASSEMBLE, LIKE SO (INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE PHRENOLOGIST’S LOVER

Daniel Scott Tysdal, Elizabeth D. Harvey

Abstract


This submission pairs a poem and a commentary. The lover/speaker in the poem addresses a phrenologist, providing instructions and diagrams for how s/he could be assembled after s/he has died. The poem appears to to celebrate phrenology's understanding of how cranial bumps reveal qualities of mind. The commentary, "Technologies of Assemblage," argues that the poem stages a poetic conversation not just between lover and phrenologist and between eroticism and medicine, but between the technologies of poetic making and the phrenological science of mapping the human brain. The lover implicitly questions the strategies of categorization that define phrenology, and using rhetorical technique and the power of verse, shows how the spirit can outlast death through poetry.

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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Canada Council for the Arts
Munk School of Global Affairs
Mount Sinai Hospital