Thursday 15 June 2023

Charlotte Wetton, "Accessioning"

Charlotte Wetton’s first pamphlet I Refuse to Turn into a Hat-Stand won the Michael Marks Awards 2017. She has performed at Aldeburgh and Ledbury festivals and came second in the StAnza Slam. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and at the Manchester Festival of Libraries. She received a New Writing North award in 2019 and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Manchester. Say hi to her on twitter at @CharPoetry

About Accessioning

Astute, precise, and unsettlingly calm, Accessioning is an index of lives encased in museum glass, and then brought to life.

Through poems about fossilised fruit seeds and the sofa where Emily Brontë died, Wetton questions how we curate the lives of those living and dead in a pamphlet about looking, processing, and memorialising. Whether considering preserved wedding-cakes, a non-existent art exhibition or a human scream, these poems speak to the impossibility of containment and question our ability to map and categorise.

This is a pamphlet of poems about the stories that we tell ourselves, the memories that we construct, and the ways that we value and devalue people, animals and objects alike.

You can read more about Accessioning on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two sample poems from the collection. 

From Accessioning, by Charlotte Wetton

Specimen Drawers

Ilfracombe Museum

A drawer marked Wedding Cakes: brown patchwork, glistening. My eyes adjust. Flat squares of wedding cake, packed tight. Dark spots of currants, beige icing, twirls of lace, silk flowers. Couples’ names and dates on hand-written labels, 1888, 1956.


Imagine it packed, chokingly, in the throat, powdering like 
brown earth, weevils coiling. A long table – eating and talking and laughing in bone-yellow dresses, crunching vitrified marzipan and liver-spot raisins before swaying tiers of cakes, mice burrowing. And a ghost band plays and the first dance is danced forever and ever, souls tethered to a dozen village halls and hotels – the missing slice.


Cake should not be an epitaph. It is made to crumble on the tongue, dispersed to cousins and aunts in white napkins, snuck out of tins and off sideboards by the large hands of greedy husbands. Eggs and flour. You cannot carve monuments in cake. You cannot engrave details of contracts. It should not last.


A wedding crasher, trophy-hunting up and down the Devon coast – evidence for his mates. A vampire groom, remarrying through centuries, knowing the grief to come. A bridesmaid, light on her feet in butterfly colours: Put a slice under your pillow and you’ll dream of your future husband. And all night faces flicker like train windows through trees. 

Private Tour


My mother asked if she could,
for a moment, lie
on the small hard sofa
where Emily Brontë died.
They said no.

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