From Instagram Poetry to Autofictional Memoir and Back Again: Experimental Black Life Writing in Yrsa Daley-Ward’s Work

Jennifer Leetsch, University of Bonn
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Fall 2022), 301-326

This article explores the work of Black British writer and Instagram poet Yrsa Daley-Ward in order to tease out new experimental forms of Black life writing in on- and offline media and to activate critical engagement with questions of authorship and authority, identity, and belonging. Daley-Ward’s work will first be examined along the lines of its aesthetic, collaborative, and socio-economic practices and secondly located within a twenty-first-century context of digital spaces of online self-expression and social media. This approach updates and reinvigorates discussions about the shifting technologies of the self in order to place them in dialogue with more innovative and connective aesthetic strategies to tell stories of the self online and in print. Combining theories of collaborative autobiography and digital life writing, the article argues that by making her art available to an online audience, Daley-Ward generates spaces of participation and emancipation that contribute to new forms of world-wide relationality.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]