Joya: AiR / Emma Mackilligin / poet / UK
“In the weeks leading up to my residency at Joya: AiR, and during my time there, I kept coming across quotes by Simone Weil in everything I read. It felt like the philosopher was following me through books in order to remind me of the importance of paying attention.
‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.’
In the Sierra Maria - Los Vélez I found a place where I could truly focus on paying attention – broadly and generously – to myself, to others, to the landscape, and to language.
‘Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.’
There is a quiet solitude to be found at Joya: AiR which feels sacred. Time behaves strangely there, stretching to accommodate long hours of exploration and reflection. A week opened out to an abundance of space that I passed through slowly, practicing receptiveness, paying attention and taking care”.
Emma graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2015, with a first class degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. In September 2018 she completed her masters degree in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway, passing with merit. Her work has been published in 2 UEA creative writing anthologies, Lighthouse Issue 9, and online at newwriting.net, Killer Whale Journal, and Hotel. The 3 poems published in Hotel's online archive have been selected to appear in the journal's forthcoming anthology, Twenty-Five Rooms, published in partnership with Dostoevsky Wannabe. She has read and performed at various events including 2 iterations of 'The Enemies Project', Praxis 10 at Cafe Oto, Back2Back at SET, the Small Publishers' Book Fair 2017, and supporting Mervyn Morris at a Live Lit Lounge event in Norwich. She has written, designed and produced 4 bookworks - 'Cochineal', 'For Want of Memory', 'You're Not in This Origin Story' and 'Other Peoples' Bodies'. She is currently in the process of finding a distributor for these works.