CPRC: Border Blurs – Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland. 5 December 6-9pm

The Birkbeck Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (CPRC) invites you to the launch of Border Blurs: Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland (Liverpool University Press). We are celebrating the launch of Greg Thomas’ fantastic book with an evening of papers and discussion on the practice of Concrete Poetry in both its British and international contexts.

Date: 5 December 2019

Location: Room B13, 43 Gordon Square, School of Arts, Birkbeck University

Time: 6-9pm

You can get a free ticket on Eventbrite here.  

More About the Launch 

6 pm – Welcome and Reception

6:15 – Introductions Steve Willey, Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing, Birkbeck and Director of the CPRC

6:20 – Greg Thomas, ‘Ian Hamilton Finlay, Albert Speer and the Ideology of the (Concrete) Aesthetic’

6:35 – ‘Exploring Border Blurs’ a Q&A with Bronac Ferran and Greg Thomas

6:50 – Bronac Ferran, ‘Letters to Mayer’

7:05 –  Nicola Simpson, ‘dsh and yantramantra: typestract as poemscore and prayer’

7:20 – Interval

7:35 – Matt Martin, ‘Ports in a Storm: Bill Griffiths’ Forming Four Dock Poems’

7:50 – Rebecca Kosic, ‘Transatlantic Connections: Concrete poetry in the American Hemisphere’

8:05 pm – General Q&A Chaired by Steve Willey

8:30-9 pm – End

About the participants 

Dr Greg Thomas Greg is an independent scholar and recent British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based in London.

Dr Rebecca Kosick is Lecturer in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol and Co-Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute. She is the author of two books forthcoming in 2020: Material Poetics in Hemispheric America: Words and Objects, 1950-2010 (Edinburgh University Press) and a poetry collection, Labor Day (Golias Books).

Matt Martin is Stuart Hall Research Scholar at Birkbeck, researching the use of nation language and dialect in avant-garde poetry. His own poetry collections include full spectrum apotheosis (Contraband Books) and the dotted line (Gang Press). He maintains the event listings page Innovative Poetry Readings in London (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/cprc/readings).

Bronac Ferran is a PhD candidate in English and the Humanities at Birkbeck working on Hansjörg’s Mayer’s ‘typoems’ of the nineteen sixties. She is the author of ‘The Smell of Ink and Soil: The Story of Edition Hansjörg Mayer’ (2017) and the recently appointed Manager of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck.

Dr Nicola Simpson is a curator and researcher at Norwich University of the Arts. Her interests are in discussing, experiencing and performing the influence of Zen and Tantric Buddhisms on British counter-cultural art and writing. She is editor of The Cosmic Typewriter: The Life and Work of Dom Sylvester Houédard (Occasional Papers, 2012) and co-editor of Dom Sylvester Houédard (Richard Saltoun, Riding House, 2017).

About Border Blurs

This book offers the first in-depth account of the relationship between English and Scottish poets and the international concrete poetry movement of the 1950s to the 1970s. Concrete poetry was a literary and artistic style which reactivated early twentieth-century modernist impulses towards the merging of artistic media, while simultaneously speaking to a gamut of contemporary contexts, from post-1945 reconstruction to cybernetics, mass media and the sixties counter-culture. The terms of its development in England and Scotland suggest new ways of mapping ongoing complexities in the relationship between the two national cultures, and of tracing broader sociological and cultural trends in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s. Focusing especially on the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Bob Cobbing, Border Blurs is based on new and extensive archival and primary research, and will fill a vital gap in contemporary understandings of an important but much misunderstood genre: concrete poetry. It will also serve as a vital document for scholars and students of twentieth-century British literature, modern intermedia art and modernism, especially those interested in understanding modernism’s wide geographical spread and late twentieth-century legacies.

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Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation – Life Journeys 8 November 2019 6.30pm Keynes Library

Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation

A Series of Workshops at Birkbeck and SOAS presented by Marina Warner (Birkbeck) and Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS)

8 November 2019

Haifa Zangana and Wen-chin Ouyang

Public event:

Life Journeys

6:30-7:30 pm

Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

Tickets: https://bit.ly/36r2Aq8

 

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Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies – Autumn Term 2019

Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies

18 November 2019

Kirstie Blair (Strathclyde), ‘Excelsior! Inspirational Verse and the Victorian Industrial Worker’.

Our first Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies event of the new academic year takes place at 7.30 on Monday 18th November 2019, in room 106 of the School of Arts building, 43 Gordon Square. Professor Kirstie Blair (Strathclyde) will give a paper titled: ”Excelsior! Inspirational Verse and the Victorian Industrial Worker’.

This paper uses research from the ‘Piston, Pen & Press’ project to discuss the enormous popularity of inspirational, motivating verse, a genre usually critically disregarded. It examines the role such poetry played in the cultures of working-class self-improvement and mutual improvement, for both working-class writers and readers.

Prof Kirstie Blair is the author of numerous articles/chapters and three books on Victorian poetry and its wider impacts on Victorian culture: her latest study, Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press and Community, has just been published by OUP. She is the PI on a 2-year AHRC project, ‘Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace’, on which she works closely with a number of industrial heritage museums and creative partners. She is currently running a series of MOOCs on ‘Working Lives’, exploring the history of Victorian workers on the railways, in coal-mining, and in textile factories and mills.

The session is free and all are welcome, but since the venue has limited space it will be first come, first seated.

Forthcoming Events

Alison Booth (Virginia): ‘Illustrating the Life and Complete Works of George Eliot: Homes and Story-Worlds.’

Wednesday 5th February 2020, 6.00pm. The Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

 

Deborah Lutz (Louisville): ‘Marginalia and Other Forms of Graffiti.’

Wednesday 11th March, 2020, 6.00pm. The Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square.

For more information on the Centre and its activities, see www.cncs.bbk.ac.uk

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MIROnline Workshop – 25 May 2019: Fran Lock and Simon Coltman

MIROnline’s next workshop, poetry and meditation with Fran Lock and Simon Coltman, takes place on Saturday, May 25th. This is a free event but places are limited. You can book your place on our Eventbrite page:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-and-meditation-with-fran-lock-and-simon-coltman-tickets-60940146619

Exploring ways to improve focus, access new images and ideas, and turn those ideas into poetry, this afternoon will provide you with the tools you need to use meditation and free writing in your own poetic pursuits. Writing and editing poems will also be of great use to prose writers due to the focus on the lyric nature of language.

The workshop will begin with a mindfulness meditation session and will involve shorter and more focused mediation throughout the afternoon. There will be a series of exercises aimed at generating, structuring and editing poems. Editing meditations will provide the opportunity to view your writing as a reader would.

The afternoon will culminate in a feedback session facilitated by Fran and Melanie. All participants will be offered the opportunity for more detailed feedback via email after the session. Work produced may also be considered for publication on our website or performance at one of our live events.

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Submission for Lamplight magazine

Do you write poetry, prose or essays that you feel deserve a platform? Or do you draw, paint or make photography? We would love to hear from you!

 

Lamplight is Birkbeck’s new bimonthly arts & culture magazine, launching in late April. The idea is to provide a platform for students to showcase their writing, visual art, and other creative pursuits. Content is nearly finalised for the first issue and there are just a small number of spaces left for submissions. For prose and essays, we are looking for 600-1200 word pieces. For visual art, we have no specific criteria. It’s unlikely that anything sent after the next two weeks will make it into the first issue (however, don’t let that stop you from submitting for Issue 2!), and the earlier your can get yours in, the better chance you will have of being featured in Lamplight Issue 1. If you have work you would like to share, get in contact with us at lamplightmagazine@gmail.com

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Poetry against Slavery: guided tours in October and November 2018

Poetry against Slavery: guided tours in October and November 2018

This guided tour takes place at 12pm and 3pm on Thu 4 October (National Poetry Day), Sun 14 October, Sun 21 October, Thu 25 October, Sun 18 November, Thu 22 November and Sat 24 November. Venue: Museum of London Docklands, No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. The tour and museum entry are both free. All welcome with no need to book.

The London, Sugar & Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands is a unique resource for exploring London’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and for understanding the trade’s present-day legacies. As part of the museum’s Black History Month programme in October, and during the nationwide Being Human Festival in November, Matt Martin (Stuart Hall Research Scholar and PhD student in the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck) will lead one-hour guided tours of the gallery, showcasing his research into how poetry has galvanised resistance against the oppression of African, Caribbean and Black British people.

From Africa’s rich heritage, through preservation of cultural legacies during slavery, to recent political activism, you will encounter and discuss poems that give voice to objects and images in the museum. Discover how African cultural origins have influenced language and poetry in the Caribbean, how poems inspired anti-slavery action in the Caribbean and the UK, and how later poets have drawn upon this history to oppose continuing racial injustices. The spoken and written word will emerge as powerful ways to build solidarity among and between communities. No advance reading required – all texts will be provided on the day.

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CFP Elegy: New Approaches – Deadline for Abstracts: 3 August 2018

Elegy: New Approaches

Department of English Studies and the Centre for Poetry and Poetics

Durham University, September 14, 2018

Extended Deadline for Abstracts: 3 August 2018

Keynote Speaker: Professor Stephen Regan

Elegy, as Jahan Ramanzani observes, is the ‘mimesis of mourning’. It is the poetic form and distillation of our common response to loss, meeting the need for consolation and renewal in the face of death. It fulfils several cathartic requirements: the expression of grief, anger, and disbelief; the idealisation of what is lost; and the preservation of its memory. Elegy’s catalyst can emerge as the death of a loved one or exemplary figure (often a fellow poet, as in Alfred Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam’), the loss of love itself, or the loss of values that have receded from the cultural consciousness.

Traditionally considered as a mode of consolation and reassurance, in modernity these tendencies have sometimes been questioned and rejected. How can the elegy function effectively, for example, in the era of police brutality and Black Lives Matter, or in the aftermath of the recent mass shootings at US high schools? Conversely, can elegy as a genre of response open up new ways of thinking about socio-political issues – can the homoerotics of certain Roman love elegies, for instance, help us explore the grief reaction to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s? For this conference, we seek papers that investigate new approaches to the elegy in its many forms, be it the elegies of the Civil Rights Movement, responses to political violence (such as the hauntingly beautiful poems of Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley), elegies of Diaspora, or the prominent elegies in the English tradition. We also welcome papers that consider the elegiac response as something that exceeds the poetic lyric: a diary entry of Woolf’s, for example, deliberates whether ‘elegy’ should supplant ‘novel’ when describing works such as To the Lighthouse, and traditions of ritual mourning such as keening can be approached as intersections of social and literary conventions. Our aim is to foreground these ‘texts’ as elegiac in their own right and to showcase recent research in this area.

This conference is envisioned as a forum for reflection on the current state of research on elegy and on potentially fruitful directions for future exploration. The organisers are especially keen to elicit proposals pertaining to new and emergent areas of interest, and/or which take an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. We also welcome proposals relating to elegies outside of the Anglophone tradition, although for the purpose of this conference all presentations must be delivered in English.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on the theme of elegy and the elegiac, broadly considered. Please send a 250 word abstract and a mini-biography (50-100 words) to Dr Laura McKenzie at elegy2018@gmail.com by 3 August 2018. For further details visit the conference website at https://bit.ly/2IMY5ya.

 

Contact Info: 

Dr Laura McKenzie

Department of English Studies

Durham University

 

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Birkbeck Poetry Workshop – 5 September 2017 7pm

BBK PWS 20170905 SEP

BIRKBECK POETRY WORKSHOP

THIS EVENT IS ORGANISED BY ALUMNI. MOST WELCOMED IS ANY POET, (INCLUDING CURRENT STUDENTS,) TO PRESENT A POEM FOR DISCUSSION.  

……………………………………………………………………………

Tuesday 5th September   7 pm till 9 pm Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square.

Chair: Richenda Power

Themes:

1) Lake

2) Stone

3) Skirt

Forms:

a) Free

b)Sonnet

c) Ballad

……………………………………………………………

Please feel free to bring along 12 photocopies of a poem to share, have constructively criticized or praised.

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Marina Warner Workshops: Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops – May-June 2017

Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops

‘It was and it was not…’: Translation in Action

(from Arabic into English)

May 11, May 25, June 6, June 27** 2017

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Professor Marina Warner (Birkbeck)

Professor Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS)

In conjunction with the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck. Directed by Steve Willey.

Booking: http://www.chase.ac.uk/arabic-poetry-translation

chase

Workshop Topics and Dates

Workshop 1: May 11 The writer Hanan al- Shaykh will discuss her work with translator Catherine Cobham.

Topic: The Wiles of Women. Poetry and Stories from The 1001 Nights (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, B104)

Public reading. 6.30-8.00 pm (SOAS B104)

Workshop 2: May 25 The writer Hoda Barakat will discuss her work; with translator Marilyn Booth, Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, Oxford.

Topic: Mad Love. Nizami, The Seven Pavilions: The Tale of Leila and Majnun.   (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, SWLT)

Public reading, 6.30-8.00pm (SOAS SWLT)

Workshop 3: June 6 Writers tbc,  with Julia Bray, Laudian Professor, Oxford, and editor of Ibn Sai, The Consorts of the Caliphs.

Topic: Singing Girls. Poetry, stories, satire and elegy in the songs of the Abbasid qiyan (Birkbeck , Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

Workshop 4: June 27  The poets Tamim al=Barghouti and Yousif al-Qasmiyeh will read their work and discuss it.

Topic: Islamic Sicily or Siculo-Arab Literature: poems of Ibn Hamdis and others, and fables from Ibn Zafer, Solwan or the Waters of Comfort (Birkbeck, Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Final workshop in September/October will showcase the work completed over the summer.

Participants

16 places for CHASE PhD students; 10 places reserved for independent translators and scholars, for a total of 20 for each workshop.

Objectives

A: The workshops proposed will adapt methods used for bringing Greek tragedy to an Anglophone reader and apply them to Arabic literature.

With the help of scholars of Arabic literature, who are interested in the wider transmission and enjoyment of their subject, students will work alongside poets, dramatists, translation theorists, and writers of fiction, in order to revision (‘awaken’) Arabic literary texts for contemporary readers/audiences.

It has become customary, for example, for a poet with no Greek or Anglo-Saxon to re-inhabit a myth or a legend and bring it to vigorous new life– famous examples include Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, Simon Armitage’s King Arthur, and the inspired contemporary revoicings of Ovid by Timberlake Wertenbaker and Kate Tempest. By contrast, the riches of classical and traditional literature in Arabic have in some sense been kept from those who cannot read or understand the language. The complexities of Arabic prosody and the vast range of genres and expressions of the Arabic and Persian narrative and poetic corpus seem to preclude access to all but scholars. Workshop participants will explore means and ways to make this literature accessible beyond the specialist circle.

The joint workshops themselves will examine how stories, motifs, characters, images travel across borders and migrate into new host cultures, moving into different languages, different genres, and on to different registers.

B: The workshops also set out to investigate collaborative exploration and discussion for translation/literary recreation in itself. Can the workshop model be a stimulus to the making of fresh, vigorous reawakened material from unfamiliar contexts and languages the writer-translator does not always know? The group sessions will provide the scope to be innovative about participation and collaboration for literary creativity.

Translators of the writers taking part will be present to discuss their task. However the project differs from strict translation, as applies to the work of contemporary Arabic novelists. The workshops are focusing on canonical/ancient/medieval/traditional material and its varying expressions because in this era of hostility to cultures associated with Islam, it is more important than ever to explore the riches of their vast literature and to understand the mutual entanglement of literary traditions.

These workshops will continue the project Stories in Transit, which undertakes nourishing storytelling and creativity in refugee communities. The project began in Oxford in May 2016 and Palermo in September 2016 and May 2017, and is a collaboration between Birkbeck, the University of Palermo, and the NGO Bibliothèques sans Frontières.

The material will include songs and squibs by medieval women poets, romances from Persia, the lyric poetry in Tales of the 1001 Nights, animal and other fables from Solwan, or The Waters of Comfort by Ibn Zafer from Sicily, written in the l2th century, or materials participants themselves propose.

Participants will attend all four workshops at which the visiting speaker and translator will address a text or group of texts; a general discussion about them will follow, leading to a choice of subject to develop work on over the summer and a reunion in the autumn to review the fruits of the workshop.  These will not aim to give faithful versions of the originals, but transpose them, sometimes even into a different form – eg poem to drama, story to song – the reawaken them and communicate them to readers and audiences today.

Booking: http://www.chase.ac.uk/arabic-poetry-translation

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