In nuclear physics, nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. The difference in mass between the reactants and products is manifested as either the release or absorption of energy. This difference in mass arises due to the difference in atomic “binding energy” between the atomic nuclei before and after the reaction. Fusion is the process that powers active or “main sequence” stars, or other high magnitude stars.
Using this concept as a methodology for creating poetry and flash fiction, I work collaboratively with individuals or groups to create original works of literature through the process of fusion – I facilitate exercises that help participants generate imagery, subject, narrative and sensory description through emotional and linguistic responses to nuclear issues, and I then fuse components of their work together into a new form, acting as the ‘binding energy’ that restructures elements of the original texts and releases new meaning in the form of poetry or flash prose. Unlike ‘found’ poetry, this method is collaborative from the start, with participants responding to set tasks to generate the words that are later used in the fusion piece. No extra words are added, although order, syntax, narrative and meaning change and merge. The works below are created at Hack Green as part of these workshops, responding to the place, history, atmosphere, objects and experience of the bunker itself, as well as wider themes of Nuclearity in culture.