The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes

BookThe Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes

The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes

Pavilion Poetry


April 30th, 2019





In The Cancer Journals Audre Lorde wrote, ‘I do not wish my anger and pain and fear about cancer to fossilise into yet another silence, not to rob me of whatever strength can lie at the core of this experience, openly acknowledged and examined.’ Founded on this same principle, The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes was written in the three months following Dutch writer Lieke Marsman’s cancer diagnosis. A series of short poems anchored by an essay that speaks directly to Lorde’s journal entries and personal reflections on cancer, Marsman considers, among other things, the state of contemporary Dutch politics and – via Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor – the rhetoric surrounding her disease. A work of poetry, social criticism and autobiography, The Following Scan is an honest and dryly comic account of a period in the author’s life that elides pretension in search of autonomy and self-knowledge. Beautifully translated by the poet Sophie Collins, the book also includes a translator’s note in the form of a letter to her author and friend.

This is the work of two remarkable poets in collaboration and conversation. Lieke Marsman has evolved a stringent poetics of limit and capacity, of body and language and self. The scan is a metaphor for Marsman’s particular quality of attention - committed and complete.
Lavinia Greenlaw

‘Ten poems and an essay about cancer, for which Marsman was treated. But it is also about so much more: about loneliness, being on benefits, economic sensationalism and freedom of expression.’
NRC Handelsblad

About The Author

Lieke Marsman published her first poetry volume (Things That I Tell Myself) in 2010 when she was only twenty years old, and promptly won three poetry prizes. Her first novel (The Opposite of A Human Being), in which she intertwined poetry and prose to examine climate change and our attitudes towards it, was published in 2017. Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She is co-editor of tender, an online arts quarterly, and editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations. small white monkeys, a text on self-expression, self-help and shame, was published by Book Works in November 2017 as part of a commissioned residency at Glasgow Women’s Library. Her debut collection of poems Who Is Mary Sue? was published by Faber & Faber in 2018.