Helen Charman

Helen Charman is a writer and a PhD student researching nineteenth century maternity, sacrifice, and political economy at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. She teaches undergraduates at the University of Cambridge, and primary school children in Hackney. Her poetry has been published in Hotel and Datableed, and her other writing can be found in The Germ, Dazed and Confused, the LRB Blog and The Inkling Magazine.

Parental elegy: language in extremis

Elegy, a term that means in its strictest sense a verse lament for the dead, is in practice applied to the wide variety of writing that enacts the work of mourning. If grief is a problem of narrative and nothing more, then elegy is rendered a purely productive tool; a mediating force to curb emotional excess.