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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Robert Graves and Modern Poetry

6th May 2015, 17:30 to 19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Professor Neil Corcoran

An Inventions of the Text seminar.

Evoking my own early and abiding interest in Robert Graves's poetry this lecture examines some of the reasons for his comparative lack of presence in contemporary poetry criticism despite the fact that he has consistently been appreciated by, and influential on, succeeding modern British and Irish poets. These prominently include Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, and the lecture examines elective affinities and inter-relationships. It does so in the main by a close reading of several poems designed also to suggest Graves's major poetic strengths. These readings will consider such things as: the appropriateness of an ekphrastic analogy; the displacement of Graves's own dubious 'Goddess' theory of poetry into something altogether more compelling by individual poems themselves; some implications of his metric; and his inventive re-modeling of seventeenth-century poetic tropes. The poems 'Conversation Piece', 'Love Without Hope' and 'The Straw' will be prominent among poems discussed.

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