Marianne Morris was born in Toronto and grew up in London. She studied English literature at Cambridge and later obtained a PhD in Performance Writing from Dartington College of Arts in Devon. Her research led her to look for a new poetic language by carrying out a series of experiments. One of them consisted of writing on a typewriter, aimed at using the physical and aural character of the experience to give intuition a dominant role in the writing process; this strongly influenced her later work.
In 2002 Morris founded Bad Press, which published a high proportion of female poets in its chapbooks, and focused on linguistic experiments and authors with an interest in the potential of multimedia beyond the page. More than ten chapbooks by the poet have appeared from an array of micro-publishers, and in 2013, the collection The On All Said Things Moratorium, including material from her previous books as well as unpublished work. Since the collection has a chronological structure, it can also be read as an account of Morris's development as a poet.
The title is ambiguous - 'On' can be interpreted as 'about', but also as 'against' - and as such is the ultimate reflection of Morris's style: her work is characterised by unique, unexpected syntactic links which are outside everyday discourse, as well as by changes of perspective. Poetic language offers this opportunity, says Morris, and is neither derived from the conventions of spoken language, nor from those of theoretical language, and is also not a collage, but, instead, a language that really is separate and distinct.
A language which must invent itself: this is something also demanded by Morris's recurring themes. The disjunction between body and spirit caused by mental disorders, and the omnipresent sexism which has permeated language in particular; situations where there is a mismatch between perceived reality and the capitalist system in which our bodies move. This need for inventing a new language is explicitly specified quite regularly, for example in the poem SEED - "All the names. Insufficient in a language that separates". But her language does not just reveal and dissect; it also heals. Healing the mind and the body play key roles, and to this end, it is important to form ties with the natural world again.
Poems in Order, Bad Press, Toronto, 2002
Memento Mori, Bad Press, Toronto, 2003
Gathered Tongue, Bad Press, Toronto, 2003
Cocteau Turquoise Turning, Bad Press, 2004
Fetish Poems, Bad Press, Toronto, 2004
A New Book From Barque Press, Which They Will Probably Not Print, Barque Press, London, 2006
Tutu Muse, Fly By Night Press, Portland, 2008
So Few Richards, So Many Dicks, Punch Press, Buffalo, 2010
Commitment, Critical Documents, Cambridge, 2011
Iran Documents, Trafficker Press, 2012
DSK, Tipped Press, Oxford, 2013
The On All Said Things Moratorium, Enitharmon Press, London, 2013