Susan Barry-Schulz 🖼️
Pain is Tactile
About the Art
Over the past year I have been engaged in a found / visual poetry project using my 1,500 page college Gray’s Anatomy textbook as a source text. (36th British Edition, Williams and Warwick, 1980) As a physical therapist, I spent thirty years working with patients recovering from illness and injury before becoming disabled myself in 2020 due to chronic illness.
In making my way through the dry scientific language of this text (which focuses in minute detail on the human body and its processes), I think I am in some ways attempting to help process my own disability and integrate my previously separate identities as patient, practitioner and poet.
I use marker, color pencil and ink, and some elements of collage working directly on the text itself. I don’t scan ahead in the text so I am sometimes (often!) left with no path forward as far as being able to link phrases or words together in a meaningful way.
In Pain is Tactile, the subjectivity and vulnerability of experiencing pain is explored against the very straightforward language of the text. In Usually, I am attempting to use humor to reflect the complexity and difficulty of accepting the diagnosis of a chronic illness.
I am interested in the way the original text is only partly obscured in some of these pieces and the way this original text engages with or pushes up against the meanings in the found/highlighted words and phrases.
About the Artist
Susan Barry-Schulz grew up just outside of Buffalo, New York. She is a licensed physical therapist and a poet living with chronic illness. Her poetry has appeared in SWWIM, Barrelhouse, Kissing Dynamite, Rogue Agent, New Verse News, Nightingale & Sparrow, Shooter Literary Magazine, The Wild Word, Bending Genres, MORIA Literary Magazine, B O D Y, Gyroscope Review, Harpy Hybrid Review, Wordgathering, West Trestle Review, River Mouth Review, SHIFT, Pine Hills Review, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter at @SueBarrySchulz.