Threshold One; from pandemic to refreshed world, by Rick Nelms

Threshold One; from pandemic to refreshed world, by Rick Nelms

Three Reflections On Beauty

Rick Nelms, who has been part of the Good Death poetry workshops at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, reflects on beauty and its importance for living and dying well.

Last words and Avengers: Endgame

What links Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers: Endgame and Shakespeare’s Richard II? Jessica Lim reflects on destiny, “last words” and the pervasiveness of death talk in popular culture. We have a cultural obsession with last words. It is reasonably commonplace to meet a person who can recall Oscar Wilde’s (ostensible) last words: “Either that wallpaper goes, or […]


Literary Epitaphs
and the question of monuments

What are the words that we’ll be remembered by? Jessica Lim reflects on the desire to set our legacies in stone. Under the wide and starry skyDig the grave and let me lie:Glad did I live and gladly die,And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me:‘Here he […]


Poetic creativity and the fear of death

Jessica Lim considers the urgency of Keats’ poetry in the face of death. When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain, Before high-pilèd books, in charactery, Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain; When I behold, upon the night’s starred face, Huge cloudy symbols […]


Is the ‘good life’ a life of purpose?

The loss of purpose, which can afflict those who are facing death or who have experienced a loss, is the subject of Milton’s haunting ode. Words by Jessica Lim. If a ‘good’ or ‘purposive’ death is linked to a ‘good life’, then what does it mean to lead that ‘good life’? Specifically, how can one […]


Anger and futility:
Wilfred Owen and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’

Death, war, and writing about death in war (4) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,And towards our distant rest began to trudge.Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;nk with fatigue; […]


An Anthropologist Reflects:
The idea of death and how we live with it

A Dead-end? In the first of three guest contributions, social anthropologist Eveliina Kuitunen writes on the problem of “otherness”. Can we really know anything about any death but our own? In 1972, Johannes Fabian criticised a parochialising of mortality and claimed anthropologists “ceased to answer for humanity” by only writing of “how others die” and […]


An Anthropologist Reflects:
Death do us part

In the second in a series of guest contributions, social anthropologist Eveliina Kuitunen explores the theory of death denial Amidst anthropological and sociological arguments about whether denial is an accurate portrait of attitudes towards death in the West or not, the question of what it is exactly that is being denied remains largely undiscussed. Proponents […]


Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ has become one of the most widely-known and used funeral poems of modern times. Here, Jessica Lim reflects on the language of struggle, anger and fighting and how the metaphors we choose shape our experience of grief. Dylan Thomas, 1951 Do not go gentle into […]


Poetry and the Good Death

A reflection by Dr Phil Isherwood. Phil has been volunteering since 2010 as the ‘hospice poet’ – writing poems inspired by conversations with patients and by their creative work in the Creative Therapy Department at Bolton Hospice. Find him on twitter @Hospice_Poet I have been a volunteer poet in the hospice for the last nine […]


Rest in Play: Exploring Death in Videogames

What can videogames contribute to conversations about death and dying? Emma Reay explores how games might go beyond using death as a metaphor for failure and instead offer surprising and profound insights into our relationship with mortality.

Spiritfarer: A Cosy Management Game About Dying

In this Reflection, Emma Reay explores ‘Spiritfarer’ by Thunder Lotus Games – a charming, peaceful management game about end-of-life care.

A Losing Game: Playing at Grieving in ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’

‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ is a videogame that considers what remains of us after we die. Filled with articulate props in eloquent environments, the game invites players to discover the lives and personalities of Edith’s ancestors by interacting with their possessions. Emma Reay explores the magical realism of this game’s representations of death and dying, and reflects on how videogames can express the relationship between personal agency and mortality.

Unspeakable: The Colour of Grief in Gris

In this reflection, Emma Reay examines the synaesthetic representation of grief in the puzzle-platform game, ‘Gris’ by Nomada Studio.

A Touching Gesture: Hand Movements and Loss in Videogames

In this post, Emma Reay asks whether the gestural controls of videogames can provide us with a new language for describing bereavement. Using ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ by Starbreeze Studios as an example, she explores the poetic potential of haptic communication.

20 Videogames About Death and Dying

In our search for videogames that engage with death in interesting ways, we encountered all kinds of thought-provoking explorations of dying, bereavement, and memorialisation. This is a list of the top 20 videogames that we felt contributed the most to contemporary debates about death. Are there any videogames that you think we have missed? Let […]