25 August 2014

Publishing Poetry Research

The most conventional means of making public some poetry research is to write an article in an academic journal or a chapter in an edited book. Sometimes the book may be focussed on poetry research from a specific area; the journal almost always publishes vastly more on prose than on poetry. Both can sometimes be so slack with their interest in poetry than quoted lines of verse lose their correct layout somewhere in the process. If you’re lucky, you get to waste an entire day re-inserting line breaks into quotations in a final proof; if you’re unlucky, the final proof gets ransacked after the final author check and the article is published with the verse run on as prose, making a nonsense of your analysis. The semi-live spoken predecessor of both these written forms is usually the 25- to 30-minute conference paper.
Radio is a different way of publishing. I went to give a presentation to the BBC and they gave each academic speaker a 4-minute slot. What can anyone say in 4 minutes? Out went any nodding to sources, any evidencing of points, any discussion as such. Instead I chose two big loose ideas and two mini examples and that was my four minutes spent. In the event of making the programme that I had effectively been pitching that day, I got to record over 90 minutes of spoken comments. No script, nothing like a conference paper, no scaffolding, no poetry quotations; it was strangely different to any other way I’ve made public my poetry research in the past. The outcome will be cut together some time in the autumn by the editor to make a 30-minute programme and until then I’ll wait uncertainly to see what emerges. A bit of fun or a viable means of publishing? Who knows!

10 October 2013

Poetry Research Network

The Poetry Research Network, set up at the end of 2011, focusses on modern and contemporary poetry from throughout the cultures of the world. Its aim is to reach a fuller understanding of the forms of poetic practice.

In developing critical tools appropriate to the genre, the network represents a site where practice meets theoretical thinking. Drawing on academic expertise, we are reaching out to national and international poets through a series of workshops. Poets of differing outlooks have been invited to present their work and to participate in our poetry translation workshops.

We have brought international poetry scholars to Wales, in order that researchers and students come into contact with the latest poetry and the latest approaches to long-standing poetry.

The Poetry Research Network particularly welcomes researchers from abroad and those working in languages other than English, as well as specialists in the translation of poetry and in the interactions between poetry and music, poetry and visual art, and poetry and theatre.

Poetry has always found itself in touch with its outside – with other languages, with other semiotic systems, including the visual arts, performing arts and music, as well as politics and history. These are particular areas for the development of our research and our research-led events.

Theme for 2011-12: Hamlet and Poetry. The network’s inaugural event was the conference "Hamlet and Poetry" held at Atrium in Cardiff. Selected papers from the event were published as a special themed issue of the open-access journal New Readings.
Theme for 2012-13: Poetry under Pressure. We invited researchers and poets to Cardiff to participate in readings, talks and workshops which took place at public venues across the city in May 2012. The theme of poetry under pressure was variously interpreted – as pressure from a government cultural policy or pressure from a dominant discourse, for example – and provided the framework for a series of encounters between German poets, Welsh poets, translators, researchers and the public.
Theme for 2013-14: Dylan Thomas. 2014 is the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth and as such an opportunity to re-assess the significance of his work. Following an AHRC-sponsored presentation to BBC Wales on "the German Dylan Thomas", we are making a radio programme.