About The Body Electric Blog
This blog finds inspiration in many voices, including Walt Whitman and his poem “I Sing The Body Electric”. Just like most of Whitman’s poems, it is gorgeous and expansive, unhindered and subversive. In it, Whitman celebrates every part (literally) of the physical body, rupturing many destructive social norms of the time simply through his venturing language.
I love this poem because Whitman’s lengthy, sprawling exploration of the body— in all its grittiness and eroticism, wonder and tenderness – is just about as freeing in its poetic form as it is in its message. It makes me wonder, a century and a half later, if a person’s body can be just as free to “sprawl” as the words in his poem—to not be contained, to not be afraid to stretch and “spill over,” to overflow and rupture the ready-made templates of cultural values that urge us to contain and maintain, sculpt and flatten, reduce and minimize, and conform conform conform.
This blog seeks to nuance the language—figurative and literal—that we use to talk about the body. It seeks to challenge language that shames and condemns, that divides itself up into black-and-white “good”s and “bad”s, that gives rise to an epidemic of disordered eating and thinking, of obsessive and fear-based behaviors regarding food and exercise that women and men alike face. This blog seeks to move toward generating more freeing perspectives of the body—perspectives that illuminate the body’s natural and unstriving beauty, its mystery and malleability, and its seemingly mind-of-its-own uncontrollability.
Perhaps in the process of moving toward such perspectives—and in relinquishing, for some of us, a tormenting need to control our bodies—we will be able to reshape the ways we talk about, and therefore think about, ourselves.
“And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?”
Camila is a Cleveland-based writer interested in topics related to body image, eating disorders, corporeal feminism, and health and fitness rhetoric. She holds her MA in English and leads a community-based poetry workshop in Cleveland. She is especially inspired by poets who sing the body electric and don’t shy away from exploring all of the glory, grit, ecstasy and agony of life lived in a body.
Her tall and unwieldy self tends to foray into new physical activities with a burst of wild enthusiasm that eventually sputters out because she doesn’t know how to commit to things. She has recently transitioned from longboarding (on very flat surfaces) to ballroom dancing. She hopes her next adventure might involve a combination of the two.