We’ve launched our Kickstarter!

We launched our Kickstarter yesterday, and – obviously – celebrated last night. Well, to clarify, we all stayed up – at our respective laptops – until the small hours. Still, at least one of our team popped to the pub, for one drink.

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Roots Frida Kahlo - Hair

Luisa Fernanda on hair shaming

My London friends had no idea that my natural hair is curly and unruly.

My natural hair is curly, undisciplined and frizzy. I have straightened it since I was very young. I liked it more: it was silky, sophisticated and, somehow, people reacted differently to it. I was definitely a fan of my straighteners.

My mum was a straight hair advocate, and I followed her steps. We used to spend hours and lots of money at the hairdresser’s. I never questioned our moth-daughter tradition of despising all hairstyles that were not straight and silky. When I came to London I realised that African hair, braids and corns where considered ‘unprofessional’.

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Azalées Blanches Romaine Brooks

Indolic by Zoe Dzunko

Zoe Dzunko’s has written two poems (Sand Under Nails & Fake Flowers Last Forever) for our first issue; they are gorgeous, rich pieces. Aside from being a doctoral student in creative writing, she is the founder and editor of Powder Keg, an online journal of poetry. It’s definitely worth a look – among other pieces, it has the best prose(ish) poem about (but not about) a dog I’ve ever read. Below is her poem Indolic, which Zoe chose as a good example of her current work. It was originally published in Souvenir.

If we waited long enough
we could witness the body

making new parts, growing
new flesh shapes, hungry

like a goldfish to occupy
negative space. Say, please

grow to the plant you killed,
say please rain to desert

skies; nature’s weird trick
is to force division in the

wrong places. The mould
of wet scabs, the sickening

mass of deadly nightshade,
the vines of veins branching

into new blooms on my
calves. So, you want to talk

about flowers, how knots
of nothing remarkable bust

their way to beautiful; how
skies sweat on them at dusk?

Just their slow centerpiece
death, or that they know when

to die? Talk of how the air
grew ripe at the idea of green,

thick with the rot of sunshine.
The ocean spits up the mess,

leaves it on the shore to dry;
the body of soil, warm enough

to grow explosions. Somehow,
your nose imagined sweetmeat

at the sight of a rose, alone—
some seventeen layers of pink

tongues, licking at the inside
of your computer screen,

the menace of beauty, no violets
to shrink into—I am laying out

for the bees, but they never land
when you want them this much.

– Zoe Dzunko


Image: Azalées Blanches by Romaine Brooks, 1910. Brooks was somewhat ahead of her time: a bohemian who indulged in a great deal of what we might call ‘gender play’, dressing her female sitters as boys and vice versa.

Le Chambre Bleue Susane Valadon Object

Object Study 1, The Bed

Each issue of LYRA contains an object study relating to its theme. Lust presented us with a plethora of possibilities – lingerie, high-heels, masks, sex toys and so on – but, in the end, we decided to go right to the beginning, the source and the base: the bed.

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Fetish by Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson’s Fetish Photographs

Fetish; noun
1. a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.

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Detail from Bosch’s Seven Deadly Sins, depicting ‘luxira’ or lust.

Federico Campagna, on lust too

In his essay on the subject, the radical atheist philosopher Federico Campagna descries the fact that though lust is given ample attention in many fields “the quantity of such attention has rarely been matched by quality.”

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Philippa Snow on Showgirls

No one writes with more wit, bite or intellectual force about ‘celebrity culture’ (the culture) than Philippa Snow.

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Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Vices Lechery

Simon Blackburn on lust

Simon Blackburn will be defending our first issue’s central theme: lust.

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Modigliani's Reclining Nude

Joumana Haddad – naked women selling power tools

Our first issue features an article by the, frankly, polymathic Joumana Haddad, who has found acclaim as a poet, translator (into English, Italian, French, Spanish and Arabic) journalist, woman’s rights activist and editor of the short-lived Arabic language journal of sexuality, Jassad.

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