Helena Hunter

Helena Hunter is an artist, writer and researcher based in London. She works at the intersections of poetry, art and science to address the critical ecologies of environmental change. Her ongoing work with freshwater and marine ecologies involves collaboration with environmental scientists on issues of river health and ocean modelling (Sensitives Steam, Arts Catalyst, 2021; Hydromancy, John Hansard Gallery 2021). Her current research investigates the relationship between poetry and algae, and how an ecology that embraces multiple scales, temporalities and forms of address can help rethink poetry in the Anthropocene. Her artwork has been presented at Tate Modern, Barbican Art Gallery, ICA, Gasworks, Delfina Foundation, Gazelli Art House, Whitechapel Gallery, The Showroom, BALTIC and MIMA. She has published her critical and creative writing in Reliquiae (Corbel Stone Press), MAI Journal, Something Other and forthcoming MAP Magazine, APRIA Journal and Contemporary Journal. Her work has featured in Posthuman Ecologies, edited by Rosi Braidotti and Simone Bignall (Rowman & Littlefield International 2019), Remain, edited by Jussi Parikka, Ioana B. Jucan and Rebecca Schneider (University of Minnesota Press 2018) and forthcoming in Investigating Cultures of Equality (Routledge 2022).


Falling Birds (Excerpts)

568 and 570 are written in response to taxidermic specimens of endangered birds in the Horniman Museum Natural History Collection, specifically the Kakapo and Snowy Owl.

First published in Reliquiae by Corbel Stone Press in 2020 the poems are part of Falling Birds, a solo exhibition at The Horniman Museum in London. A short film with poems and images from the exhibition was commissioned as part of Aerial Festival 2020.



I am full of straw
I am full of
rough hands
that made me

another’s face
in my throat
another’s mouth
on my wing
another holding
my breath

startling my image
heaving my liveliness
composed again
a replay calling
folding in
ghost skin



on the brink
talon dipped in ink

what inscriptions
you made

scored bark
clenched air

last beats clasped
last gasp

in your path

carbon dust
locked in ice



Holding the Herbarium

Excerpt from Holding the Herbarium, a hybrid-text combining photographic images of Cyanobacteria from the Natural History Museum with poetry. First published in MAI Journal, 2019.


You arrive
after rainfall,
morning dew and
meteor showers.

A swollen star atlas
on the doorstep
of strangers.

They call you
witches’ butter
star jelly
mares’ eggs
confuse you
with toad spawn
the vomit
of polecats.

You express yourself
in dots
each spray
a cipher,

an ecology
that has been.



The ink to name you
mirrors your constellation.

Nostoc hetography,
a charred shadow
emulating globular forms.

Did you coax
the pigment
toward you
mistaking it for water
then finding none
made a semblance?

Writing yourself
above the bookcase
that reads
‘Men Shall Be Wise’.



Careful hands
wipe secrets
with fluid spirits
smother cuts –
efface an empty
sentence sentience

a mesh that catches
expiration over-coding
claiming coding
writing against
this need
to write against
this need
to find another form
a looser lexicon.

Blue green tare
blue amnesia
blue roar of affirmation.

What violence
is sanctioned here?