At twenty years old, I spent a year at the University of Minnesota Law School, marking my first steps into what has become a transcultural life. My time there provoked a formative collision of globality, art, capitalism, education, and personal and cultural freedom that remains crucial in my poetry. In Minneapolis, I learned to straddle the line between corporate-grad-school America and subversive, train-hopping freedom. This tension between certainty and uncertainty has become central to my poetic practice.
As an Irish citizen who has spent most of the last decade living in North America and travelling the world, my poetry explores the experience of recent emigrants who move between urban centers of common language and ideology. My practice reflects on the transcultural being’s understanding of certainty, and the role of what I call “markers” of neoliberal capitalism in the quotidian experience of transcultural beings. These markers range from the obvious, such as the ubiquity of global chains like Starbucks and McDonald’s, to transport systems operated internationally by companies like Veolia, as well as the increasing uniformity in communications and technological frameworks around the world.
Specifically, these markers often give the transcultural being the impression of assimilation and integration by masking cultural differences that can be vital to their construction of identity in new cultural spaces. To me, these markers of global capitalism obscure our relationship with certainty and permanence. My poetry explores the emergence of global culture and challenges whether such an idea is productive for the transcultural being. Does globality hinder our ability to form identities in new spaces, or instead, does it help us to find purchase in uncertainty? Have our fluid identities become sources of discomfort that require us to seek identification and stability through superficial corporate markers? Have Pumpkin Spiced Lattes become a coping mechanism for uncertainty?
Ultimately, because of the rate and manner in which we all now move through and experience the world, we are all somewhat transcultural in our orientation. My practice and poetry attempts to move the reader into a space where they are asked to confront the complexity of their relationships with corporations and the comfort that the branding of certainty gives us in a global world. [End Page 382]
julie morrissy is an Irish poet and scholar living in Dublin after spending many years working and studying in Canada and the United States. She is a Vice Chancellor Research Scholar at the University of Ulster, where she is pursuing her doctorate in poetry. Morrissy has performed and published her work widely in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Her works have appeared in Cyphers, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, and White Wall Review. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (UK) and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Her debut chapbook I Am Where was shortlisted for the 2016 Saboteur Awards (UK) and is available from Eyewear Press.