Fuel Body Pods - The Gut

Posted: 03/08/12

Listen to our latest podcast, The Gut, now.

The Gut has been made by poet Alice Oswald and Dr Glenn Gibson, Professor of Food Microbial Sciences at University of Reading.

Alice writes of her podcast

"I’ve always been interested in the mouth as being both the box in which poems are stored and also the tube through which food passes. I like how incompatible these functions are and how digestion undermines dignity – for example, when people listen to poetry while eating biscuits, trying to chew very quietly; or when they make civilized conversation while eating steak or shell-fish. I see the Gut as a court clown reminding us who we (partly) are.

 I was lucky enough, through the Fuel project, to collaborate with Glenn Gibson, a scientist specializing in gut bacteria at Reading University. He talked to me about the importance of micro-organisms in the lower intestine, commenting that ninety percent of cells in a human body belong to bacteria, some of which secrete chemicalsthat affect our moods and concentration. After leaving his office, my sense of identity was entirely dismantled.

 Poetry is an investigative discipline. I don’t think it’s there for transmitting facts. So I decided to make a piece that allowed Glenn to present his data straight-forwardly, with my own work providing a kind of subconscious, underworld interruption. I had intended to write a meticulous account of eating from the point of view of bacteria, but what emerged was a cannibal dinner party, a vision of what happens when you put the stomach in government, even a hint of a comparison between the digestive system and the current political one…"