Beauty through a scientific lens is a very unique way to admire something. Percival Everett portrays the beauty of the female body in his archive of poems titled “re: f(gesture)”. The poems in this collection all provide ample amounts of scientific wordage that portrays different components of the female anatomy. Through some majestic means he used these words in a flowery way to describe things that aren’t conventionally thought of as independently beautiful. The way that Everett expertly flexes the words, and language to his will is how he suggests beauty within the female body.
In Everett’s “re: f(gesture)”, he masterfully uses his scientific knowledge to illustrate human body parts. He methodically places scientific terminology in the same sentences with adjectives that wouldn’t typically describe a human body part. A sentence that provides this odd sense of gracefulness is “before the aorta, the diaphragm, expanding with the motion of life, it surrounds the Coeliac axis” (61). This sentence is such an interesting sequence of adjectives mixed with scientific terminology that amounts to a captivating scene. It is nontraditional to describe an area of the human abdomen as charming, but Everett’s use of the language makes something without beauty sound exquisite. Majesty can also be found in Everett’s poem “The Fissure of Rolando” (58). The Fissure of Rolando is a part of the brain that in no way sounds delightful. Everett however, described The Fissure of Rolando as “carried across from the root of one auricle, passing up, curving back between fontanelle” (58). This part of the poem gives of this elegant architectural tone that makes the brain sound fascinating. When reading these two lines, one can imagine the complex twisting and turning of the brain’s components. Everett utilizes the language so readers think more deeply about the human body, ultimately realizing the perfection, and complexity of anatomy. Human anatomy to humans is such an interesting thing, because humans are often grossed out by what lies internally, but people are also inherently fascinated by how each part functions as a part of the whole.
Before diving further into the beauty of Everett’s poems, it is important to note that beauty is objective, and as the old saying goes, is “in the eyes of the beholder”. However, when reading “re: f(gesture)”, anyone can objectively note that the arrangement of words have this interesting elegance to them. The elegance is created through powerful images that are depicted through Everett’s usage of the five senses. Everett uses not only sight but, smell and touch. Within the poem entitled “Palmar Fascia” (48), Everett uses touch when stating “Squeeze unconsciously when I am a baby” (48). This part of the poem utilizes the word “squeeze” to make the reader think about how babies uncontrollably tighten their hands, portraying a cute picture which wouldn’t typically be associated with the Palmar Fascia. Everett uses touch again in his poem “Obturator Internus” (49). He uses the verb “thrusting” in the poem to assist the reader in imaging the function of the hip muscle. When reading “Nasal Fossae” (51), Everett appropriately addresses how it impacts the human’s ability to use their sense smell. Everett says in the poem that “I smell your sex, pressing through the outer nose” (51). This is an example of Everett using another one of the senses to describe these body parts. The senses are so important in literature because they’re human’s outlets for not only experiencing the world, but also describing what they experience to others.
The poem “Nasal Fossae” (51) and thereafter is also when Everett’s poems take an unexpected turn towards the beauty of the female human body. Everett’s poems “Corpora Cavernosa” (54), “Tunica Vaginalis”, and “Labia Majora” all include information and descriptions of female body parts. The other poems in the collection are about body parts found in both males and females. It is interesting that Everett didn’t decide to write a poem about any male exclusive body parts. Why Everett did this is unknown, but in his poems about the female body, he continues to use the language to gracefully describe each part. In “Corpora Cavernosa” (54), Everett mentions things like curvature, internal threads and connectedness which paints the body part in a beautiful light. In “Tunica Vaginalis” (59), Everett sounds very clinical when describing the body part, but he also places a lot of value in the part. He is determined to represent the part’s importance, whilst also explaining that the part is very fragile and a “thread lying loose” (59). In Everett’s “Labia Majora” (60), he almost personifies the body part with the statement “each with two faces” (60). Describing a body part as having “two faces” is very interesting, because it makes a rather simple part of the body seem much more complex. In the poem, Everett also mentions the many working components in the body part like “sweet fat, vessels, nerves” (60). Everett expertly represents the beauty and complexity of the body by informing the reader of the fascinating network found in each body part.
In “re: f(gesture)” by Percival Everett, Everett skillfully uses the English language to express beauty within body parts. The poems are thought provoking, because they use a mixture of beautiful words and scientific words to describe the female human body. The poems read very fluidly and sound graceful because of Everett’s word choice and usage of the five senses.