I use poetry as a way of working with academic research data and sharing it with others.
Glass (2019) reports from the battlefield of gender and the workplace. It tells stories with imperfect endings, set in a complex landscape of ceilings, cliffs and closets; witnesses dialogues between power, fragility, invisibility and constraint. This is poetic material both solid and splintered, confusing and clear; testimony related with a keen ear and a contemplative voice, a dispatch from the frontline of contemporary working life.
The research poem Glass draws on qualitative data collected for a research project Gender(s) at Work and on my poetic response to that data. Glass comprises four sequences entitled: Ceiling, Cliff, Escalator, Closet, echoing the four archetypal (and architectural) phenomena which frequently frame academic and popular discussion of career obstacles, risks and privileges: the glass ceiling, the glass escalator, the glass cliff and the glass closet. Each sequence distils and analyses found and original material and experiments with form and voice. Four short monologues in the voice of the researcher and organisational poet open, close and interrupt these sequences, suggesting the potential for organisational poetry to disrupt organisational behaviours and research traditions. Read more.
I am a published poet, writing on a range of subjects for audiences beyond academia.
Following publication of individual poems in two Cinnamon Press anthologies: May Day and other Poems (2014) and Trio and Other Poets (2015), my first solo collection was published, also by Cinnamon Press in 2018. This was the culmination of a decade's work and a formal mentorship by the wonderful Dr Jan Fortune, Cinnamon's publisher. Navigation is available direct from Cinnamon Press, or from the usual sources - but a plea to buy direct from Cinnamon, they are a tiny press and lose a significant cut if ordered through Amazon.
Addressing experiences of displacement and connection to both place and to people, the poems in Navigation traverse landscape and memory, mingling the two. From the sediments of natural structures to the erosion of memory, Kate Carruthers Thomas uses beautifully controlled metaphor to explore the tensions between familiarity and strangeness, whether in how we perceive the world or is the changing dynamics relationships. Poised, honed and sharply observed, with a feeling for what goes on beneath the surface of things, Navigation is an outstanding debut collection.
work in progress
I'm currently working on a pamphlet tentatively entitled Year of Plenty. These poems-in-progress address my experiences of caring for my frail elderly mother over the course of a challenging year in which she moved from independent living to residential care.