1. Prac Crip
‘Kaushi, please could you help me type this text as it appears on the page? 1 Peter Larkin’s poetry works against the patterns Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s voice recognition data tends to find natural, so it’s really hard to transcribe it without typing’.
‘Thank you – where you have put in space with spaces, please could you take the spaces out and press enter, so the spacing will stay the same if the amount of space in the margins changes?’
‘I tried that but then there’s too much space’.
‘No problem we can remove the space’.
Human as strange as rooted, always severely rotated by what located
surface: radical gleaning along crush inquests into the current arrest of
horizon fluctuant zest towards adjacency 2
‘Thanks. With this one could you make a space that’s the size of the “space”? Sorry not the size of a space, but the size of the word space, so five spaces plus a space for the space?’
root trudging the grain of site without estranging the glean but set onto
fields of reaped surface all that furthers a vertical clearance out of
small caught space 3
This is what I call doing prac crip. 4 A methodologically innovative attempt to pinpoint and perform what I’m doing when I close read these gleanerly roots of arboreal limbs whilst I cannot lean on my own.
She was initially having difficulties typing due to repetitive strain injury and then started using voice recognising software called as Dragon .
She was previously active and enjoyed her allotment, cooking and working hard . 5 She is now adjusting to pacing herself, correcting her posture and lengthy physiotherapy exercises .
She reported recently being discriminated against for having repetitive strain injury .
Prac crip is a prac crit of crips that complicates key liberatory crip criticism. 6 Prac crip explores how disability is an integral part of how these readings are produced, as well as addressing the predicament that work-related upper limb disorders, which are driven by lean managed environments, continue to be driven by writing against lean managed environments, no matter how emancipatory the theory. The corporeal impact of lean culture’s micro-regressions –microaggressions, and yes – the same ‘small caught space’. 7
‘They have said that there are no rooms available this morning’. 8
Larkin’s fascination with ‘the glean’ runs parallel to the rise of lean. To glean and its derivatives have a ‘distinctive presence’ in his lexis from Pastoral Advert (1988) to Seven Leaf Sermons (2018), 9 a thirty-year period during which lean management has become increasingly global. 10
First used by John Krafcik in the 1988 Sloan Management Review , the term ‘lean’ was coined to describe, develop and disseminate the managerial and technological efficiency innovations of the Toyota Production System to an Anglophone audience. 11 The concept was then influentially expanded, reaching a wide readership, in James Womack and Daniel Jones’ business bestseller Lean Thinking . 12 To its proponents, ‘lean production is “lean” because it uses less of everything’: ‘it does more and more with less and less’. 13
‘I’m afraid they are still yet to confirm if funds are in place for us to work together next week’.
Go to sleep.
2. ‘too severely rotated by what located surface’
Reach up. Lean the left arm on the desk, stretching the shoulder slightly. Using the extra height, raise the right arm onto the desk. Press the pencil on the middle of the ring finger of the right hand. Lean to the left. Hook the left foot under the right thigh. Hold on. Lean the head to the left, and curve the neck towards the right hand. Hold on. Rub the right hand. Hold.
On examination she has a slight body habitus . 14 She demonstrates a full range of neck movement, but has widespread sensitisation and trigger points across the whole of the trapezius muscle .
She has a scoliosis with no lumbar core stability muscle function, with widespread muscle spasm in her thoroco-lumbar to her upper cervical areas. She has common extensor origin injuries on both sides and both the nerve nets are quite irritable in her arms .
She will need therapy to both hands. She has got obvious synovitis of the flexor tendon of the middle finger on the right and also some minor wear of the type seen in repetitive strain injuries from computer usage to the wrist . 15
Prac crip transcends practical criticism with reference to crip theory. 16 Prac crip rather acknowledges that to adopt the form of the close reading essay would be both to erase the additional labours of writing with work-related upper limb disorder, and to pretend that these are not at every moment a part of the process that require resourcing in the context of an ableist system. 17
This includes spaces for operating a computer with speech in what is largely a silent, open plan work culture; assistance for some manual tasks and digital ones the software cannot do; discovering alternative methods of composition; changes to the work environment; and time. 18
Prac crip does not begin with the text on the page. It moves instead ‘inquests’. In a quest requiring effort, rather than questing on one by choice; an anticipatory inquest for living bodies. And as the inquest/arrest rhyme attests, not yet held to account. The challenges presented by disability in an academic context are described as ‘an extra workload […] equivalent to having another part-time job’. 19 The role: internationally managing and problem-solving new challenges of original research meets disability as PI of multi-disciplinary team RSI. 20 Unremunerated. 21 University stifles its RSI diversity.
‘too severely rotated’
You were triggered following discrimination at work. At times your thinking was very elated e.g. “with my injured hand I’m going to start the revolution” .
Prac crip shows how repetitive strain injury changes an approach to practical criticism, but also, by association with ‘crit’, how practices of practical criticism with repetitive strain injury challenge some workings of crip. Whilst key critic Petra Kuppers celebrates ‘cripping the act of reading’ as an ‘embodied, luscious’ way that ‘you can write as a critic through your own crip sensitivity’, prac crip, in a playful mode lent by the colloquial shorthand prac crit, calls this up short to enact what for some crip critics becomes sensitized through participating even in crip critical labours. 22 Critical of this mode of cripping as well as cripical, prac crip shows not only the seductions but the limits for liberation of practising crip criticism for those crips (and crips in the making) the work hurts in the act. 23
Prac crip holds back from the efforts of discursively and disciplinarily supplying the eroticism ableism gives me in deficit. 24 Prac crip refuses itself, crippily cutting cripping in order, as Alison Kafer writes, to be ‘not preserving one’s body for productive work but […] refusing such regimes in order to make room for pleasure’. 25 Prac crip distrusts a critic’s ‘cripple’s aesthetic’ drawing on ‘pleasures of the texts’, where materially engaging with this general thrust gives me less energy to thrust my— 26
Prac crip exists not to demonstrate the capacity to carry on writing with less than what is needed, but to show in the act of writing that work-related upper limb disorder is not something that can be given a one-off technological fix, or just carried on with anyway. For the design of work environments say close reading comes with carrying.
Someone needs to educate you about not bringing into the library things you cannot carry .
O NCE LIFTED HE REFUSED TO TAKE IT DOWN FROM THE HIGH PLATFORM HE HAD PLACED IT ON TO SEARCH UNTIL I ASKED REPEATEDLY .
Prac crip lets rip offering less than a reverent silence for absent silent working. Disability can be an auricular moment. 27
Prac crip documents how carrying needs cash, communicating, and their privileges, and how precarious agency workers (with what access to sick pay or disability leave) support a precarious grant holder (with what access to sick pay or disability leave) with manual handling and logistics of poetry about lean managed environments. With manual handling and logistics of somebody else’s books of somebody else’s poetry.
Prac crip makes collective crip critical labours visible. 28
2014: Library Support Assistant attempts to scan Lean Earth off Trees Unaslant . 29 The scanner is broken.
2015: Library Support Assistant photocopies Lean Earth off Trees Unaslant :
|24/04/2015||Letter of authorisation to K|
|25/04/2015||Print off K’s letter|
|29/05/2015||Change for K for photocopying|
|01/05/2015||Bring authorisation for K and sign|
|01/05/2015||Bring spare rucksack for K|
|01/05/2015||Taxi to college and bring books for K|
|10/06/2015||Bring in Larkin books for K|
|11/06/2015||Room bookings from Sat onwards|
|12/06/2015||Ask K to reissue Larkin books|
|23/11/2015||Follow up re K’s payment|
Subject: Unpaid Support Assistant
Subject: FW: Unpaid Support Assistant
Subject: Concerns around lack of response to correspondence
2016: A friend and colleague carries Give Forest Its Next Portent to be part of a pilot micro-exhibition and installation at Schumacher College. 30 With 70 other artefacts, and possibly his own copies of Peter Larkin. Over a bridge.
2017: Library Support Assistant pushes Lessways Scarce Among and Give Forest Its Next Portent in and out of security for inspection by the Capitol Police during Fellowship at the Library of Congress. And me. Following injury to my tibial tendon from opening with my foot the heavy door I could not hold, whilst administrators negotiated needed accommodations long after being told.
2019: Study Support Assistant attempts to digitise my notes on Larkin using an assistive technology scanner. The scanner is broken.
Subject: Unpaid study support assistant
Subject: Continued access to the reasonable adjustment of study support assistance
Subject: Urgent: study support assistance
Prac crip shows that writing with and on these adapted, assisted critical labours still simultaneously produces the disability it destabilizes and politicizes.
3. Peter and the Dragon
‘Thank you Kaushi. I’m going to write up the thing about the spaces as part of my article submission’.
‘Hah that was funny wasn’t it. The language needs to be so precise – you can’t just use your voice!’
‘Yes, and strictly speaking we should probably align it right as well and match the indents, but let’s call this enough talk about the spaces for now’.
Prac crip is prac crit in crip time. Prac crip explodes the prac crit essay clock, challenging an article’s normative pace with interruptions from malfunctioning equipment. 31Slow and Disabled Add-ins
‘Work faster and smarter […] There’s a Dragon for anyone who wants to be more productive’. 32
‘Dragon will never leave you speechless’, write the marketers of the voice recognition technology. 33 Except when it does. Except when word games become brand names. 34 And except when vocally controlling a computer leads language to dysphonia with a harsh rasp. Or, in the words of a common Dragon NaturallySpeaking error message: ‘you may continue dictating but some speech may become unavailable’.
Prac crip unveils the unavailable.
‘Sorry Peter for the error in the quotation. I use voice recognition software to control my computer: it heard your “rule” as “role”, and it’s a challenge to proofread dictation because our training as readers, and our writing technologies are largely designed to detect typographical errors, rather than the whole phonetic replacement of words’.
Prac crip also avails the too-veilable.
As I first dictated parts of Larkin’s texts around the same time as messages to my line manager my ‘role’ crept into the ‘rule’. With Dragon NaturallySpeaking the quotation was imbued with the sound of labour.
Re: Larkin – “glean an unleaning” (2015) 35
still using voice recognition software to access my computer for all my roles
If it is roles that break the rules, who gets to speak naturally?
Thank you for re-referring this lady back to me. I saw her for a block of voice therapy to address a muscle tension dysphonia .
Thank you for referring this pleasant 30 year old, who gives a history of intermittent dysphonia for the last 18 months […] her problem came on because she has to use her voice for 8 to 10 hours a day. This is because she is unable to use a computer because of repetitive strain injury, and has to use speech recognition software .
Thank you for re-referring this pleasant lady. She continues to have to use her voice heavily as she has repetitive strain injury on her right wrist and cannot type. She very clearly finds that when there is prolonged use of her voice that this deteriorates. It is almost akin to “repetitive strain injury” of the larynx. […] I am very grateful to you referring her back for ongoing voice therapy support and development of strategies to give her appropriate voice breaks . 36
Dictated but not signed to avoid delayCOM returned an unexpected error code
4. ‘Human as strange as rooted’
Tongues, like trees, and words have roots. 37 As ‘as strange as’ becomes ‘estranges’ Dragon further estranges Larkin’s strangeness into NaturallySpeaking; all the more strange for being estranged from itself. ‘Human as strange as rooted’. ‘Human estranges rooted’. The roots of Larkin’s woods and words tangled with the root of my tongue.
Dragon’s tongues also have roots. Larkin’s poetics become NaturallySpeaking as Dragon learns his corpus, incorporates his innovation into acceleration and reroutes both. 38 Roots digital, deferred, different from the digital,
(prac crip is a disabled person using assistive technology to communicate their reading and getting stuck)
Prac crip is a disabled person using assistive technology to communicate the method of reading linguistically innovative literature and getting stuck, as the word they have created to describe it is not yet in their software’s vocabulary list, and wondering: who most gets to write about work they can barely cite? 39
People in the UK of working age who have disclosed a disability: 16% 40
UK postgraduates who have disclosed a disability: 11.5% 41
AHRC funded doctoral candidates who have disclosed a disability: 5.5% 42
UK teaching and research academics who have disclosed a disability: 4%
UK research academics who have disclosed a disability: 3%
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellows who have disclosed a disability: 3%, unpublished 43
UK research academics who have disclosed multiple disabilities: 0.2% 44
RCUK funded academics who have disclosed a disability: negligible, unpublished 45
Prac crip is a disabled person using assistive technology to research their readings and getting stuck. Getting stuck on ‘human’.
Submissions should be made electronically through this website . 47
4. ‘radical gleaning along crush inquests into the current arrest’The speech engine returned the following error
In a slip of a Dragon’s tongue Ruth, as well as roots, surfaces in Roots Surfacing Horizon .
Prac crip notes that some typographical errors have been not silently corrected. 48
Roots radically reroutes the biblical gleaner Ruth. 49 ‘Radical gleaning’ distils and disrupts the earliest extant canonical gleaning narrative, as instead of the practice of gathering in the fields after harvest leading to marriage and patriarchal genealogy, there is a gleaner’s opportunity to stop, a rest of the current. At first sight ‘radical gleaning’ suggests gleaners having greater rights.
But the action of radical gleaning may also be currently what is arrested, or a process that is its own arrest. ‘Radical gleaning’ can be an oxymoron. Politically, it is not ‘radical’ not to resource the basic needs of all. Nor can it be radical to ask to glean, where to do so is not asking fully for what you need or desire. Gleaning can be radical only on the surface.
Prac crip, like radical gleaning, is compromised. Its radical claiming of crip for chronic work-related upper limb disorders at best can only be an act of gleaning as long as it works within ‘I therefore make the reasonable request for reasonable adjustments under the terms of the Equality Act 2010’, when, more radically, I desire a post-ableist, liberated society and scholarly culture. 50
In British history, gleaning was often permitted only for disabled people. 51 But this connection might go back to the root. Ruth, who asks for more than what she can traditionally glean by right, could have asked not out of flirtation, but from obliviousness that social conventions around gleaning were or should be any different; could have clung to Naomi as much for familiarity as familiar devotion. 52 Her preservation through perseveration in gleaning, rather than a sign of her poverty and oppression, as her socio-economic situation is the same as Orpah’s who did not glean, is a sign of an autistic woman having the relative, temporary, freedom to act on some of her needs for stimulus, before that ‘zest’ is arrested. 53
Ruth is not just uprooted by seeking refuge in lean times, she is ‘as strange as rooted’: not just a stranger, but odd; oddly attached and set in her ways; and, by comparison with Orpah, more than arrested by grief. Ruth is my scriptural Autist sister crip with an interest in gleaning, recognized after millennia. 54
Prac crip with ‘a rhetoric that tics’ radically criticises how that historic gleaning right sticks in practices of only supporting the right of crips that might not practically be able to take it. 55
I therefore make the reasonable request for reasonable adjustments under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
I therefore make the reasonable request for reasonable adjustments under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
I therefore make the reasonable request for reasonable adjustments under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
In Larkin’s phrase there is violence. The gleaning that is radical because a root does it can only move by ‘inquests’ because the agricultural practice of gleaning is most commonly about gathering ‘what’? wheat, and so stems, and as such for gleaning to be something done by a root as part of its ‘radical’ or rootness, requires the root to stem itself – cut itself off, cut in 2 itself. 56
There are no thoughts of suicide and no history of self-harm or harm to others .
I therefore make 57
I therefore make
Prac crip critically does not pretend its own crip poetics only engender ‘pleasure’ in order for their ‘claiming of crip to be embodied with criticality’, when the material practices behind creating its almost compulsory rhetoric of eroticism are a toxic crush that mostly gets me further from getting off. 58
5. ‘along crush’
‘Radical gleaning’ happens ‘along crush’ because the idea of roots attempting to pull themselves along by their own
(prac crip is a disabled person using assistive technology to communicate their reading and getting stuck)
Prac crip notes the absence of a self-directed therapeutic eco-recovery narrative, where either engaging with Larkin’s Feldenkrais-like language liberates my body, or sowing the seeds of Dragon’s Tongue Rocket on my allotment, leads me to regain my health and voice. 59
Prac crip instead notes the growth of couch grass roots on my allotment, the grass taller than I am, obscuring from my horizons the salvaged shed where I read: ‘What is it we turn towards, detached in sifts, that gleans into shape’. 60 And how whilst turning towards reading and writing about common right and gleaning, including Larkin’s notes on gleaning as ‘a cultivated bricolage’, typed ‘using a very worn ribbon on [his] then ancient typewriter’, access to my own common right comes under threat. 61
Following a recent site inspection, your plot has been identified as being in an uncultivated condition. Failure to comply may result in the issuance of a Notice to Quit for non-cultivation and the tendon see being terminated .
And the tenancy being terminated .
Prac crip cultivates disruption of canonical crip theory’s silent textual production. Alison Kafer writes, ‘I have a hard time even typing “cultivating disability” because it is almost impossible to imagine’. 62 I have a hard time even typing “cultivating disability” and dictating it with Dragon.
A gleaning root travels along a ‘crush’ that is ‘a variety of fault in coal’; the geological faultlines of those previously petrified. 63 Petrified into the pattern of roots that have gone before; ‘forced out by squeezing or pressing’. 64
‘Radical gleaning’ also travels along the “crush” that is the space managed by the current structures of animal agriculture, ‘a funnel-shaped fenced passage along which cattle, sheep, or horses are driven for branding, dipping, etc’. 65 Et cetera: radical gleaning is driven along by the structures and strictures of lean meat production.
Prac crip shows that Kaushika has no aspiration to become ‘cow shaker’ but to be ‘Kaushi care’. Kaushi has seen Cowspiracy . 66 She worries that her future employers after vet school may make her work on the wrong side of history. We worry that Dragon NaturallySpeaking finds her name so hard to understand. 67
Lean thinking is founded upon lean meat. 68 As Naomi Shukin argues, the Fordist production line, the model for Toyota, is ‘premised on the ulterior logistics of animal disassembly that it technologically replicates and advantageously forgets’. 69 To consider this part of Larkin’s poetry with his commentary on ‘radical pastoral’ would be to diminish the more radical stance about the use of animals present in his text by inviting conversations about literary form, such as what kind of pastoral ‘radical pastoral’ is and what kind of shepherding does it entail, which present a disciplined distraction from the more pressing point of the ecological problems of meat production as such. 70 In ‘radical gleaning along crush’, Larkin is more engaged in the critique of the lean practices of animal agriculture that are a leading cause of climate crisis than his self-positioning as a ‘“conservative” innovative poet’ and prose onto-theological emphasis on scarcity foreground. 71
This kind of ‘lean’ is a crucial part of ‘radical gleaning’, surfacing too in ‘crush’ as ‘cartilage, or soft bones of young animals, easily crushed by the teeth’. 72
Prac crip tells how for cartilage to be crushed, those driving animals after the crushes of animal agriculture are also crushed by repetitive strain injuries. 73 For the technologies of the packing houses, extracted into lean management and spread across the world, crush. 74 Repetitive strain injury beyond the slaughterhouse is an extension of the disassembly line, an embodiment of being leaned upon too heavily. 75 Crushed: ‘to put down, subdue utterly, extinguish, stamp out ’. 76
Prac crip is dictated by contradiction. 77 Prac crip critically cribs from and crips the texts of my medicalized body, leaning against them whilst aware that the lean technologies and environments of this labour remain part of that medicalized body’s conditions of production.
6. ‘the current arrest’
Note to the
setters: all quotations from Larkin are to appear with inexpert lineation, carrying the trace of their own mediation. Say an author and editor, both with typing injuries: as Peter’s page aesthetic is fully justified, so aesthetically fully justified are we.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: during the production of this special issue on Peter Larkin’s work it has become clear that the quotation of his prose-poetry in fully-justified PDF format and the left-justified XML format give quite strikingly different views of his poetry on the page]
Human as strange as rooted comma
Prac crip accidentally slips into the articulation of punctuation, Dragon’s settings setting my mindset whether or not I am wearing my headset.
colon radical gleaning along crush inquests into the current arrest
Nerve conduction studies measure the function of nerves and muscles. The nerve is stimulated using a small electric current .
Natalie has felt invisible […] very positive and believes she can create a more feminist working environment
They were using a voice recognition system. I said I feltPlease say that again
Strain: ‘Extreme or excessive effort […] laboured or affected diction’ 78
I said I felt
The nerve will be stimulated by a mild and brief electric shock .
You were also tearful on a daily basis .
Strain: ‘To raise to a high state of emotional tension’. 79
I said I felt
the nerve pain after the shocks is like lightning
Strain: ‘Pressure or exigency that severely taxes the strength, endurance, or resources of a person or thing, or that imperils the permanence of a feeling, relation, or condition’. 80
Natalie appeared to have good insight into this […] and reported recently being discriminated against for having repetitive strain injury .
Strain: ‘An injury done to a limb or part of the body, esp. to a muscle or tendon, through being forcibly stretched beyond its proper length’. 81
Full body muscle spasms hard wiring everything that was hurting before into a horrible brain pain circuit coming on relentlessly every 6 seconds.
Distal to the dorsal distils to the dorsal this ictus this ictus this ictus. This myoclonic ictus. This singe this seethe this sear.
‘Crush’ is also a ‘crackle, as wood thats readie to breake’ (Cotgrave); ‘to crackle, crash, clatter’. 82
He talked to me about Ruth and the roots of gleaning while he did it.
She could arrest the investigations at any point…if she so wished .
A root cannot glean, nor Dragon’s tongue speak without a glitch.
Strain: ‘A stream or flow of impassioned or ungoverned language’. 83
Natalie reports a voracious appetite
In this little off the shoulder hospital number
I said I felt
Reports that when she writes she is compelled to write this in a sing song acoustic fashion
Strain: ‘a musical sequence of sounds; a melody, tune. transferred . A passage of song or poetry’. 84
I said I felt
Reported having “grand schemes” in relation to academic work
I said I felt
Natalie admits to grandiose I delusions as outlined above .
I said, I felt
Data Accessibility Statement
This article can be made available in bespoke mutually accessible alternative formats by request, including live performances. To arrange, please contact the Editors by telephone or email with an initial description of access needs, stating communication preferences and preferably a contact telephone number where possible, in order to be contacted by the authorial team. Contact details are as follows: Scott Thurston S.Thurston@salford.ac.uk / 0161 295 3597 (University of Salford); Gareth Farmer Gareth.Farmer@beds.ac.uk / 01234 793190 (University of Bedfordshire).
- A note on the text: this article was prepared by Natalie Joelle using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional 15 voice recognition software, and it would not be possible without the administrative support of Kaushika Ratnayake, Study Support Assistant, Randstad. What follows is a reflective record of the article’s means of production, undertaken with mutual consent following a decision that the social benefits of saying something about this outweigh the risks of increasing our affective labour. The article also includes found text from my medical records, anonymized and incorporated, for the purpose of no longer being only about me, not to devalue the often kind and wise labour of the clinicians quoted here. Other found texts include software error messages, records from paper diaries, email correspondence, and formal complaints. [ ^ ]
- Peter Larkin, ‘Roots Surfacing Horizon’, in Lessways Least Scarce Among: Poems 2002–2009 (Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2012), pp. 131–68 (sec. 12), p. 167. [ ^ ]
- Ibid., sec. 5, p. 149. [ ^ ]
- Victoria Ann Lewis, ‘Crip’, in Keywords for Disability Studies , ed. by Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin (NYU Press, 2015), pp. 46–48. [ ^ ]
- For a study of repetitive strain injury as ‘injury of one’s sense of embodied integrity as the “good” worker’, see Chrystal Jaye and Ruth Fitzgerald, ‘Embodying Occupational Overuse Syndrome’, Health , 15.4 (2010), 385–400 (p. 394). [ ^ ]
- For example, Petra Kuppers, ‘Performing Determinism: Disability Culture Poetry’, Text and Performance Quarterly , 27.2 (2007), 89–106. [ ^ ]
- Larkin, ‘Roots Surfacing Horizon’, sec. 5, p. 149. [ ^ ]
- For this as a problem affecting researchers with RSI internationally, see Shelley Tremain and Emily R. Douglas, ‘Dialogues on Disability: Shelley Tremain Interviews Emily R. Douglas’, Biopolitical Philosophy , 2020 < https://biopoliticalphilosophy.com/2020/01/15/dialogues-on-disability-shelley-tremain-interviews-emily-r-douglas/ > [accessed 5 September 2020]. [ ^ ]
- I would not have said that I use the word ‘glean’ all that much but you have shown this is not really the case and that it has a distinctive presence’, Larkin, Peter to Daniel Eltringham and Natalie Joelle, ‘Pastorals Workshops’, 1 December 2014. [ ^ ]
- Peter Larkin, Pastoral Advert (Prest Roots Press, 1988); Peter Larkin, ‘Seven Leaf Sermons’, 2018; Kim Moody, Workers in a Lean World: Unions in the International Economy (London: Verso, 1997), p. 101; Tony Smith, Technology and Capital in the Age of Lean Production: A Marxian Critique of the ‘New Economy’ (New York: SUNY Press, 2000). [ ^ ]
- John F. Krafcik, ‘Triumph of the Lean Production System’, Sloan Management Review , 30.1 (1988), 41–52. [ ^ ]
- Womack, James P., and Daniel T. Jones. Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation . London: Simon & Schuster, 2003. [ ^ ]
- James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos, The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production – Toyota’s Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That Is Now Revolutionizing World Industry (New York: Macmillan, 1990), p. 13; Womack and Jones, p. 9. [ ^ ]
- To consider the gendered dynamic of ergonomics, see Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (London: Chatto & Windus, 2019). [ ^ ]
- The earliest recorded instance of ‘repetitive strain injury n.’ in The Oxford English Dictionary is 1983, ‘Repetitive, Adj. and n.’, OED Online (Oxford University Press) < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/162801#eid25827687 > [accessed 2 November 2019]. Hereafter OED . [ ^ ]
- Such as the approaches adopted by Hillary Gravendyk, ‘Chronic Poetics’, Journal of Modern Literature , 38.1 (2014), 1–19 < https://doi.org/10.2979/jmodelite.38.1.1 >; Ally Day, ‘Chronic Poetics, Chronic Illness’, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies , 11.1 (2017), 83–98 < https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2017.6 >. [ ^ ]
- Alison Kafer, ‘Time for Disability Studies and a Future for Crips’, in Feminist, Queer, Crip (Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 25–46 < https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt16gz79x.6 > [accessed 30 October 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Due to ‘ableist barriers over which one has little to no control […] Disabled people might need more time to accomplish something or arrive somewhere’, Kafer, ‘Time for Disability Studies and a Future for Crips’, p. 26. My correspondence and paper diaries suggest that the recent BBC coverage, quoting information from the Department for Education for England to the effect that ‘it can take up to 14 weeks to get the support in place’ under the Disabled Support Allowance (DSA) scheme underestimates this figure, in some instances, by a multiplier of 12: over the equivalent of 3 years, or the entire length of many undergraduate programmes. Beth Rose, ‘Disabled Students Miss out on University Fund’, BBC News , 14 August 2019, section Disability < https://www.bbc.com/news/disability-47651296 > [accessed 6 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Stephanie Hannam-Swain, ‘The Additional Labour of a Disabled PhD Student’, Disability & Society , 33.1 (2018), 138–42 < https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2017.1375698 >. [ ^ ]
- For a useful visual representation of 46 kinds of certain, probable and possible encounters a person with RSI has at macro level, see Hilary Arksey, RSI and the Experts: The Construction of Medical Knowledge (London: UCL Press, 1998), p. 5. [ ^ ]
- Kay Inckle, ‘Unreasonable Adjustments: The Additional Unpaid Labour of Academics with Disabilities’, Disability & Society , 33.8 (2018), 1372–76 < https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2018.1480263 >. [ ^ ]
- Kuppers, pp. 93, 94. [ ^ ]
- Everyone is virtually disabled, both in the sense that abled-bodied norms are ‘intrinsically impossible to embody fully, and in the sense that able-bodied status is always temporary, disability being one identity category that all people will embody if they live long enough’ Robert McRuer, Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (New York: New York University Press, 2006) p. 305; For an exploration of disability and the working body, see Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards, ‘Manual Labours’ < https://www.manuallabours.co.uk/ > [accessed 28 August 2020]. [ ^ ]
- ‘rarely are disabled people regarded as either desiring subjects or objects of desire’, Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, Sex and Disability (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2012), p. 1. [ ^ ]
- Alison Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2013), p. 39. [ ^ ]
- Kuppers, p. 95. And, after Sophia Maier, V. Jo Hsu, Christina V. Cedillo, and M. Remi Yergeau’s fantastic, ‘GET THE FRAC IN! Or, The Fractal Many-Festo: A (Trans)(Crip)t 1’, Peitho , 22.4 (2020): there is also a frac load at stake by being ‘in’ the academy and being rhetorical in the multiple disabilities that can arise from these labours. [ ^ ]
- For disability as a ‘specular moment’, see Lennard J. Davis, Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body (London: Verso, 1995), p. 12. [ ^ ]
- For writing on the processes of writing with a support worker, see Laura Hershey, ‘Getting Comfortable’, Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability , ed. by Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northen (El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press, 2011) pp. 130–133. [ ^ ]
- Peter Larkin, ‘Lean Earth Off Trees Aslant’, in Lessways Least Scarce Among: Poems 2002–2009 (Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2012), pp. 107–30. [ ^ ]
- I am also grateful to Daniel Eltringham for generative conversations about Larkin’s work, particularly during our co-convened research seminar ‘“myriad compressions in pastoral attire”: Close Reading Peter Larkin’, Birkbeck, University of London, 01/12/14. Peter Larkin, Give Forest Its Next Portent (Shearsman Books, 2014); Natalie Joelle, Glean-to: Gleaning in Lean Culture, or, The Gleanhouse , 2016, Schumacher College & Food in Community CIC, Transition Town Totnes, Collection of the author. [ ^ ]
- ‘Rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds’, Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip p.27. [ ^ ]
- Nuance Communications, ‘Dragon – The World’s #1 Speech Recognition Software: Work Faster and Smarter’, Dragon Speech Recognition Software , 2019 < https://www.nuance.com/en-gb/dragon.html > [accessed 1 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Nuance Communications, ‘Dragon Home – Speech Recognition for Home Users: Get More Done on Your PC by Voice’, Nuance Communications , 2019 < https://www.nuance.com/en-gb/dragon/dragon-for-pc/home-edition.html > [accessed 2 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- cf. Sandra Alland, Naturally Speaking (Toronto, ON: espresso, 2012), p. 29: ‘the software is preprogrammed with many words not found in the average dictionary […] an abundance of names of corporations and right-wing politicians. If I say something Dragon doesn’t understand, it will often type something like “Coca-Cola Margaret Thatcher”’. Gratitude to Sandra and Bernard Kelly at espresso for assistance in making the text of this excellent and now hard to find pamphlet available. [ ^ ]
- Larkin, ‘Lean Earth Off Trees Aslant’, sec. 5, p. 121. Natalie Joelle, ‘“Glean an Unleaning”: Lean Lexicon Glean GLoss’, in Were X A Tree: Glosses on Larkin , ed. by Amy Cutler (Coventry: University of Warwick, 2018) < https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/research/currentprojects/poetryatwarwick/onlinepublications/werexatree/Joelle > [accessed 21 October 2019]. [ ^ ]
- ‘Tips for maintaining freedom of speech while sitting: […] Keep your head up and avoid leaning forward […] quit your job to help maintain your upright position’ Paul Hawkins and Bruno Neiva, The Secret of Good Posture: A Physical Therapist’s Perspective on Freedom , 2 vols (Manchester: Team Trident Press, 2016), vol. unnumbered, p.9. [ ^ ]
- J. H Prynne, ‘On Peter Larkin’, No Prizes , 2, 2013, 43–45. [ ^ ]
- Peter Larkin, ‘Innovation Contra Acceleration’, Boundary 2 , 26.1 (1999), 169–74. [ ^ ]
- As long as the writing technologies and conventions for being citational are themselves inaccessible, we will sadly remain a long way away from Sophia Maier, V. Jo Hsu, Christina V. Cedillo, and M. Remi Yergeau’s vision of citational politics as “a practice of mutual care”. See also, Polly Atkin, ‘Why Is It Always a Poem Is a Walk?’, New Welsh Review , 24 May 2019 < http://www.newwelshreview.com > [accessed 5 November 2019]; Ableism in Academia: Theorising Experiences of Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses in Higher Education , ed. by Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh (London: UCL Press, 2020) < https://www.uclpress.co.uk/products/123203 > [accessed 21 September 2020]. [ ^ ]
- Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh, ‘Ableism in Academia: Where Are the Disabled and Ill Academics?’, Disability & Society , 2018 < https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2018.1455627 >; Department for Work and Pensions and Office for Disability Issues, ‘Disability Facts and Figures’, GOV.UK , 2014 < https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts-and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures > [accessed 4 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Brown and Leigh, ‘Ableism in Academia’; HESA, ‘Data and Analysis’, Higher Education Data and Analysis , 2017 < https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis > [accessed 4 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Average new studentships with known disability 2011–12 – 2016–17, UKRI, Research Councils’ Diversity Data (UKRI, April 2018), p. 50 (p. 10) < https://www.ukri.org/files/rcuk-diversity-headline-narratives-april2017-pdf/ > [accessed 4 November 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Average grant holders at this level with a declared disability 2011–2019, Ken Edmond to Natalie Joelle, ‘Equality and Diversity Monitoring Statistics’, 11 November 2019. For years 2011, and 2014–16 inclusive, the percentage of award holders disclosing a disability was nil. [ ^ ]
- Table 5 – HE academic staff by disability and academic employment function Academic years 2014/15 to 2017/18 HESA. [ ^ ]
- ‘The numbers disclosing a disability are small in the other data sets coupled with a significant number choosing not to disclose or unknown. We will continue to monitor this data internally.’ UKRI, p. 2. [ ^ ]
- Natalie Joelle, ‘From Differigital, Poster for “Difference and Repetition: Academic Labour After RSI”’, 2017 < https://www.academia.edu/32359652/Differigital_Poster_for_Difference_and_Repetition_Academic_Labour_After_RSI_London_25_May_2017_ > [accessed 11 April 2019]. I am grateful to Christopher Till for reflections on work-related upper limb disorder generated during our collaborative workshop on the subject. [ ^ ]
- For the direct influence of lean systems on the production of this article, see Open Library of the Humanities, ‘Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry’ < https://poetry.openlibhums.org/kanban/ > [accessed 4 November 2019]; Chet Marchwinski and John Shook, Lean Lexicon: A Graphical Glossary for Lean Thinkers , Fifth Edition (Cambridge, MA: Lean Enterprise Institute, 2014), sec. Kanban, pp. 44–48. [ ^ ]
- The language of speech recognition software is more than the kinds of discourse in Stephanie Strickland, Dragon Logic (Boise, Idaho: Ahsahta Press, 2013), as Alland shows. The majority of Dragon errors – ungrammatical tenses, pluralisation, missing words – are edited out of the present text’s partial performance. [ ^ ]
- ‘Radical, Adj. and n.’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/157251 > [accessed 11 November 2019] ‘Etymology: post-classical Latin radicalis relating to or forming the root’. [ ^ ]
- For the history of exclusion of chronic conditions in the literature of disability, see Emilia Nielsen, ‘Chronically Ill, Critically Crip?: Poetry, Poetics and Dissonant Disabilities’, Disability Studies Quarterly , 36.4 (2016) < https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v36i4.5124 >. Contrast Sandra Alland, Stairs and Whispers: D/Deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back , ed. by Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman (Coventry: Nine Arches Press, 2017). [ ^ ]
- ‘Able-bodied’ persons were prohibited from gleaning only ‘in part to protect the interests of the vulnerable’; it was ‘in the interests of landowners to get the precious harvest in without mishaps due to delays’. Irina Metzler, A Social History of Disability in the Middle Ages: Cultural Considerations of Physical Impairment (Oxford: Routledge, 2013), p. 79. [ ^ ]
- ‘Gleaners […] were not to touch the sheaves or bundles. Instead, they were to pick up the loose stalks of grain the workers have left behind in the field. Ruth […] asked for special privilege not usually accorded a gleaner’. Jerry Gladson, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ruth (New York: Edwin Mellon Press, 2013), p. 205. [ ^ ]
- For an illustrated introduction to the cultural history behind society’s invisible autistic women and its impact, see Sarah Bargiela, Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019); ‘Zest, n.1’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/232811 > [accessed 6 November 2019], 3. For a development of this argument see my presentation, ‘Gleanologics: Autecologies of Gleaning in Lean Culture’ (presented at the International Autism Research Festival, University of Leeds, 2021). [ ^ ]
- For the limits of ‘crip’ for autistic activism and criticism, see Melanie Yergeau, Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017), p. 85. [ ^ ]
- Ibid., p. 31. [ ^ ]
- Gleaning can have many objects, as Agnès Varda explores in the essay film The Gleaners & I (Les Glaneurs et La Glaneuse) (Paris: Cine Tamaris, 2000); This argument considers only its most iconic object, as in Jean François Millet, The Gleaners , 1857, Musée d’Orsay, Paris. [ ^ ]
- Jokes. For humour as a coping strategy for RSI see Fleur Adcock, Dragon Talk (Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books, 2010); Carol Rumens, ‘Poem of the Week: Dragon Talk by Fleur Adcock’, The Guardian , 20 October 2010, section Books < https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/oct/20/poem-of-the-week-fleur-adcock > [accessed 1 November 2019]. cf. Alland, Naturally Speaking . [ ^ ]
- Nielsen. [ ^ ]
- Samantha Walton, ‘Eco-Recovery Memoir in New Nature Writing: Ambivalence, Entanglement and Unrecovery’’ (presented at the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (UK and Ireland) Biennial: Co-emergence | Co-creation | Co-existence, University of Plymouth, 2019); Suttons, ‘Wild Dragon’s Tongue Rocket’, 2019 < https://www.suttons.co.uk/Gardening/Vegetable-Seeds/All-Vegetable-Seeds/Leaf-Salad-Seeds---Wild-Dragons-Tongue_177474.htm > [accessed 31 October 2019]. [ ^ ]
- Peter Larkin, ‘Brushwood by Inflection’, in Give Forest Its Next Portent (Shearsman Books, 2014), pp. 7–34 (sec. 3), p. 27. [ ^ ]
- Peter King, ‘Legal Change, Customary Right, and Social Conflict in Late Eighteenth-Century England: The Origins of the Great Gleaning Case of 1788’, Law and History Review , 10.1 (1992), 1–31; David Crouch and Colin Ward, The Allotment: Its Landscape and Culture (Nottingham: Five Leaves, 1997); Peter Larkin, ‘Brushwood by Inflection Notes’, 2010, Collection of the author; Larkin, Peter to Natalie Joelle, ‘Brushwood by Inflection Notes’, 3 October 2015, p. 12. [ ^ ]
- Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip , pp. 45–46. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, n.’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/45269 > [accessed 28 October 2019] 2c. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, v.’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/45270 > [accessed 28 October 2019]6. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, n.’ 4c; I’m grateful to Carol Watts for our conversations and her ‘Zeta Landscape: Poetry, Place, Pastoral’, in Placing Poetry , ed. by I. Davidson and Z. Skoulding (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013), pp. 281–304, which has made me attentive to this language in Larkin’s work. [ ^ ]
- Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret , 2014. [ ^ ]
- Joan Palmiter Bajorek, ‘Voice Recognition Still Has Significant Race and Gender Biases’, Harvard Business Review , 10 May 2019 < https://hbr.org/2019/05/voice-recognition-still-has-significant-race-and-gender-biases > [accessed 4 November 2019]; Perez, p. 163. [ ^ ]
- Henry Ford, My Life and Work (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922), p. 81. See Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (London: Bloomsbury, 2000), pp. 79–80; For a critical account of this, see my ‘Gleaning Lean Culture’, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment , 24.4 (2017), 737–52. [ ^ ]
- Insofar as Shukin refers to the recent managerial trends discussed here by the brand-name of ‘Toyotism’, rather than evoking the traces of animal flesh contained in the term ‘lean’, on this matter her otherwise excellent account itself helps replicate a form of ‘historical amnesia’, Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), pp. 87, 116; Adams, pp. 79–80. [ ^ ]
- Larkin, ‘Innovation Contra Acceleration’; For Larkin’s work anthologized under the auspices of ‘radical landscape’, see The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry , ed. by Harriet Tarlo (Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2011). [ ^ ]
- Edmund Hardy, ‘Less Than, More At: An Interview With Peter Larkin’, 2006 < http://intercapillaryspace.blogspot.co.uk/2006/04/part-1.html > [accessed 11 April 2019]; For a notable exception of where Larkin chooses the word leanness over scarcity in his prose essays see Peter Larkin, Wordsworth and Coleridge: Promising Losses (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 107; The landmark report documenting that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation combined is Henning Steinfeld and others, ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’, 2006 < http://www.fao.org/3/a-a0701e.pdf > [accessed 11 April 2019]; For concerns about Larkin’s spiritual hierarchy, see John Kinsella, Disclosed Poetics: Beyond Landscape and Lyricism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), p. 11; Helen Harwatt and Matthew N. Hayek, Eating Away at Climate Change with Negative Emissions: Repurposing UK Agricultural Land to Meet Climate Goals (Harvard Law School, 11 April 2019), pp. 1–20 < https://animal.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/Eating-Away-at-Climate-Change-with-Negative-Emissions%E2%80%93%E2%80%93Harwatt-Hayek.pdf > [accessed 20 August 2019]. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, n.’ 5. [ ^ ]
- P. Reis and A. Moro, ‘Preventing Rsi/Wruld: Use of Esthesiometry to Assess Hand Tactile Sensitivity of Slaughterhouse Workers’, Work , 41.Suppl 1 (2012), 2556–62 < https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-2012-0498-2556 >; P. Reis and others, ‘Influence of Gender on the Prevalence of Rsi/WRULD in Meat-Packing Plants’, Work , 41.Suppl 1 (2012), 4323–29 < https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-2012-0100-4323 >. [ ^ ]
- Joelle, ‘Gleaning Lean Culture’; Natalie Joelle, ‘The Unpacking Plant: Gleaning The Lexicons of Lean Culture’, in Thinking Veganism in Literature and Culture , ed. by Emelia Quinn and Ben Westwood, Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature (London: Palgrave, 2018), pp. 199–221; See also Jasbir K. Puar, The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 2017), p. 30: ‘To whatever extent living is, can be, has been, or continues to be a maximal output of energy and capacity with a minimal set of resources, many populations are engaged at some moment, if not continuously, with their slow deaths’. [ ^ ]
- It is no accident that the disassembly line appears on the cover of Hilary Tivey, RSI Hazards Handbook: A Workers’ Guide to Repetitive Strain Injuries and How to Prevent Them , London Hazards Centre Handbook (London: London Hazards Centre Trust, 1997). cf. Arksey, ‘affected individuals comprise men and women who might be engaged on the production line alternatively sitting at the desk in front of a computer and keyboard’, (p. 1). For early journalistic coverage of RSI that compares slaughterhouse workers with computer users, see Ronald Roel, ‘RSI: Little-Known Illness Is Big Hazard in the Workplace’, Los Angeles Times , 11 June 1989, p.36. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, v.’ 4b. [ ^ ]
- Amber DiPietra begins to reflect on similar tensions in Bartlett, Black, and Northen: ‘I needed to find ways to spend less time at the computer doing my “writing” because this work exacerbates my chronic pain […] a somatic need which, I feared, contradicted my pride at being a writer of disability poetics’, p.273. cf. Abi Palmer, ‘No Body to Write With: Intrusion as a Manifesto for D/Deaf and/or Disabled Poets’, in Stairs and Whispers , pp. 107–17 (p. 108): ‘As I lie awake at night, waiting for my fingers and wrists to recover, I vow to myself that this essay will be the last time I allow a literary form to outweigh the experience of my own body’. [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, n.2’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/191172 > [accessed 2 November 2019] 8 c. [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, v.1’, OED < https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/191175 > [accessed 2 November 2019] 11 k. [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, n.2’ 10 b. [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, n.2’4a. [ ^ ]
- ‘Crush, v.’ [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, n.2’13 c. [ ^ ]
- ‘Strain, n.2’13 a & b. [ ^ ]
I am grateful to Kaushika Ratnayake for all she has done to make this article possible. In an imagined future liberated model of journal publication in the humanities there will be ways of acknowledging the collaborative labour of working with access assistants as contributors in fields alongside the author field, and different authorship models, cultures and constraints. Until then, I thank Kaushi doubly here. Thanks to Anthony Shepherd, Mark Pimm, Tim Hoe, Heike Bauer, Travis Hensley and Carol Watts for advocacy and empowerment, and to Helen Mirra for creating innumerable positive conditions that have supported me personally in the particularly challenging times during which the final stages of this article was completed. Carol Watts, along with Daniel Eltringham, Amy Cutler, Harriet Tarlo and Edmund Hardy, has hugely helped to develop my thinking on Larkin’s work. I’m grateful to Peter Larkin for being a generous correspondent, and to Emma Mason for inviting me to be part of this issue. Emma Mason and Scott Thurston have supported this article with kindness and adapted ways of working throughout the process, for which I’m hugely grateful. Carol Watts, Ed Evans-Thirlwell, Kaushika Ratnayake, Katie Washington, and Daniel Eltringham have kindly read and commented on this article. Thank you to the anonymous reviewer for their insightful guidance. This work has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Funds for Women Graduates, with access funds from the Disabled Students Allowance facilitated by Birkbeck School of Arts and Birkbeck Graduate Research School.
The author has no competing interests to declare.