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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Making Light: How a Poet Works

11th November 2013, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Cosin's Hall, Palace Green, Linda France

Boswell: Then, sir, what is poetry?

Johnson: Why, sir, it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is.
From Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson

Like the germination of a seed, making a poem is an act that takes place in the dark. Leaves and language reach for the space to open into that light makes possible. 

Growing from poems written after visits to some of the world’s Botanic Gardens (Padua, Oxford, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kew – and now Durham), Linda France’s new collection-in-progress is a hortus inconclusus. 

Using the example of a single poem, this seminar will investigate how we inhabit poetry – reading and writing it. What marks the boundaries? Where might design and detail, form and content coincide? 

We’ve never, no, not for a single day,
pure space before us, such as that which flowers
endlessly open into.
From Rilke’s 8th Duino Elegy

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact for more information about this event.