Anna Helle abstract

Anna Helle:
The Affective Performatives of Body and Sexuality
in Tytti Heikkinen’s Shadows of Astronauts”

Tytti Heikkinen’s Varjot astronauteista (“Shadows from Astronauts”, 2009) is a collection of experimental poetry. It has been made by using found material from the internet forums. The collection consists of six parts of which three are marked with the subtitle “LÄSKI XL” (“FATTY XL”). This paper discusses exclusively the XL poems. The poetic I of the XL poems is a girl or a young woman who speaks unrestrainedly and vulgarly about her body and sexuality, but about loneliness, shame, and fatness, too. The poems express and arouse different kinds of feelings such as anxiety, pity and amusement which make the reading experience quite confusing.

I read Heikkinen’s poems as performatives of certain kind of girlhood or womanhood in which the excessive bodily and sexual aspects are at the forefront. The paper seeks to analyze the poems from the viewpoint of the emotions expressed by the speaking I but also from the angle of how the poems affect the reader. One of the key concepts utilized in this study is excess: the speaking I sees herself as too fat, she is excessively sexual, she makes too many misspellings and she speaks too openly about her personal life and problems.