Contemporary poetry, poetry criticism and the notion of poetics are in a state of rapid development and diversification driven by: 1) interaction with other art forms (hybrid visual-poetic and musical-poetic forms); 2) trans-national, exchanges and collaborations; 3) the development of transcultural and translingual approaches to literature and culture; 4) the potential of digital technology (electronic poetry).
The centre for Poetic Innovation addresses poetry and poetics creatively, critically and historically, promoting and studying poetic innovation in a broad sense of both terms, from poetry as traditionally understood to poetic aspects of visual and material art forms (such as artists’ books), of prose writing (such as the New Nature Writing) as well as interactions with music, dance and digital / electronic poetry.
The key aims of the Centre are :
- Hosting speakers, workshops and conferences
- Support and development of doctoral and post-doctoral research
- Public engagement and impact activities
- Joint Research Grant applications and research projects
We are delighted to anounce that Farshad Sonboldel has won the Ahmad Shamlou Poetry Award 2020 for his work entitled The Long Poem of Circumstances.
The Ahmad Shamlou Award is the most prestigious award in Persian poetry. The Long Poem of Circumstances is an episodic poem unfolding a dialogue between alternative Persian poets of the early modern and modern Iran about the political practice of poetry. Prior to its publication, this long poem had been selected as the best poem in the Bushehr Poetry Award in 2018.
Tuesday 3rd May 2022, 5-15-6.45pm, Research Seminar, Online (via Teams)
Prof. Francesc Parcerisas
Poetry in times of distress. For and against translation
Prof. Parcerisas will discuss two subjects which are somehow connected. First, Robert Frost’s dictum: “Poetry is what is lost in translation”, and secondly “the zero degree of translation”: when translation between two languages of dissimilar use and status becomes a danger for the translated language.
Francesc Parcerisas is a distinguished Catalan poet, diarist, scholar, and translator. He taught for many years in the Department of Translation Studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In 1998-1999, he was the President of the Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana. Between 1998 and 2004, he was the Director of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, and subsequently he became its Dean. He published his first book of poetry, Vint poemes civils, in 1967. His most celebrated collection, L’edat d’or (1983), is one of the landmarks of modern and contemporary Catalan poetry. Since then, he has published Amulet verd (1991), Focs d’octubre (1992), Natura morta amb nens (2000), Dos dies més de sud (2006), and Seixanta-un poemes (2014). He was written two diaries: La primavera a Pequín (2013) and Un estiu (2018). He is also the author of several scholarly books, including L’objecte immediat (1991) and Sense mans. Metàfores i papers sobre la traducció (2013). The list of authors whose work he has translated into Catalan or Spanish is very long: Seamus Heaney, Ezra Pound, Bertrand Russell, J. R. R. Tolkien, Henri Michaux, Arthur Rimbaud, and Cesare Pavese, among others. His most recent work is the edition of his correspondence with the late Catalan scholar and translator Josep Miquel Sobrer: Epistolari Francesc Parcerisas & Josep Miquel Sobrer (2020)
Wednesday 27th April 2022, 5.15-6.45pm, Online (via Teams)
Prof. Anahid Nersessian
Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse: Reading and Discussion
Anahid Nersessian’s Keats’s Odes has been called “a radical and unforgettable reading” of Keats’s poetry, earning rave reviews in publications like the TLS, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Boston Globe, which named it one of the Best Books of 2021. Nersessian collects and elucidates each of the odes and offers a meditative, personal essay in response to each, revealing why these poems still have so much to say to us, especially in a time of ongoing political crisis. Her Keats is an unflinching antagonist of modern life—of capitalism, of the British Empire, of the destruction of the planet—as well as a passionate idealist for whom every poem is a love poem. First published in February 2021 to coincide with the bicentenary of Keats’s death, Keats’s Odes is forthcoming in a new edition, out this fall from Verso Books.
Thursday 28th April 2022, 2-4pm
Experimental Criticism: A Workshop in Reading and Writing with Prof. Anahid Nersessian
(Prof. Nersessian will join online. Participants are welcome to attend in UCO 31 or to join online)
How can experimental criticism invite us to argue without ego, to undo the links between intelligence and arrogance, knowledge and domination—beyond the desire to be the smartest person in the room? “Criticism” might imply control, mastery, detachment, and a general attitude of knowing it all. An experiment, by contrast, asks us to be vulnerable to thought—to surprise ourselves and even say the wrong thing. We choose the experiment because we have a point to make, and making it unpredictably is part of the point. Experimental Criticism is a writing-intensive workshop using interpretive forms such as the index and monologue to animate our objects of attention in unexpected ways. Participants will be asked to bring an object of study, in any medium or genre, as a point of departure for a series of writing exercises. We will approach various techniques for reading/observing/listening to help us change our practice at the level of word and sentence, in search of a critical language that is both innovative and focused. Exercises will reference and take inspiration from the writing of Renee Gladman, Bernadette Mayer, Helen Mirra, Fred Moten, and Rachel Pollack.
Anahid Nersessian was born and raised in New York City. She attended Yale University as an undergraduate and got her Ph.D in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. After spending three years at Columbia University, she moved to Los Angeles, where she is a professor in the English Department at UCLA on the unceded territory of the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples. She is the author of three books, Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse (Chicago, 2021; Verso, 2022), The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life (Chicago, 2020), and Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment (Harvard, 2015), and has published widely in top scholarly journals as well as in The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, New Left Review, and n+1. She founded and co-edits the Thinking Literature series at the University of Chicago Press.
Wednesday 20th April, 5.15pm, Research Seminar, online (via Teams)
Dr Alexander Dickow
Pascale Petit, Seductive Grammarian:
the Audacity of Audacity
In 2019, a graduate student at Virginia Tech, Annetta Riley, completed the first extensive study of Pascale Petit’s poetry to date, under the direction of her professor, Alexander Dickow. The following intervention takes as its starting point the fascination Petit’s work provoked for this student. It will investigate Pascale Petit’s latest book of poetry, Audacity (2020). This book returns to a recurring narrative decor in Petit’s work: that of the fairytale. Here, this genre’s familiar roles become the pretext in an elaborate game of seduction. Woven into this lover’s discourse is a competing textual model: that of the grammar book. Audacity is shot through with numerous example sentences, which undermine narrative by maintaining a conjectural atmosphere where there are no events, only propositions. The proposition can be a dry statement, detached from usage for the purposes of analysis, or else it can be a most suggestive invitation. Audacity is an ars amatoria, a grammar of love; its falsely impersonal examination of its own discourse is the very ruse it uses to seduce the reader.
Alexander Dickow is a poet, novelist, translator and scholar of French and Francophone literature and film of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He is associate professor of French at Virginia Tech, and writes in French and English. His most recent books include Déblais (Louise Bottu, 2021), a collection of fragments on art and literature.
To register for this event, please contact Dr Elodie Laügt (email@example.com)
Thursday 10th March, 6pm, Lecture Theatre: School 3 in St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews.
The Centre for Poetic Innovation, in collaboration with the Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies at the University of St Andrews & the Ukrainian Society at St Andrews, will be holding a special evening of poetry recital with Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk, a prominent voice of the new-generation of Ukrainian poetry, on Thursday 10th March, 6pm, Lecture Theatre: School 3 in St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews.
Free and open to the public.
An online link will be posted shortly for those interested but unable to attend in person.
Wednesday 2nd February 2022, research seminar, 3.30-5pm, online via Teams
Prof. Stephen Roberts
“Three hundred dark-red roses: Lorca’s use of metaphor”
According to philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), what set the “new” (avant-garde) artists and writers apart from their nineteenth-century counterparts was their particular use of metaphor. The poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) agreed, although, when it came to the cultivation of complex metaphor, he, like other members of his poetic generation, sought inspiration in the work of Spanish Golden Age poet Luis de Góngora (1561-1627). This paper will look at Lorca’s understanding of the workings of metaphor and at his use of this literary device in his own work.
Steve Roberts is Professor of Spanish at the University of Nottingham. He has published widely on the literature and intellectual history of Spain between the 1870s and the Civil War of 1936-1939 and on the Spanish cinema of the Franco and post-Franco periods. His latest book is Deep Song. The Life and Work of Federico García Lorca (London: Reaktion Press, 2020).
To register for this event, please contact Dr Elodie Laügt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wednesday 8th December 2021, 5.15-6.45pm, Byre Theatre
Poetry Reading with Peter MacKay
“It was lovely to hear the Gaelic…”
Pàdraig MacAoidh will discuss his own work as a poet and editor, and address the questions of what it means to write – and read – Gaelic poetry in contemporary Scotland, and the bridges between Gaelic poetry and other European literatures.
Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay is a poet, lecturer and broadcaster. He has two collections of poems Nàdur De (Some Kind of, 2020) and Gu Leòr (Galore, 2015), both published by Acair, and a pamphlet, From Another Island, with Clutag Press (2010). He largely writes in Gàidhlig and English, and his work has been translated into Czech, French, German, Irish, Occitan, Macedonian and Slovakian. He has co-edited the anthologies An Leabhar Liath: 500 years of Gaelic love and transgressive verse (with Iain S MacPherson), 100 Dàn as Fheàrr Leinn / 100 Favourite Gaelic Poems (with Jo MacDonald) and The Golden Treasury of Scottish Verse (with Don Paterson and Kathleen Jamie). His academic work includes the books This Strange Loneliness: Heaney’s Wordsworth (2021) and Sorley MacLean (2011); he is a Senior Lecturer in literature in the School of English at the University of St Andrews, and has been an AHRC / Radio 3 New Generation Thinker.
Thursday 4th November 2021, 4-6pm, online via Teams
“Multilingual Creative Writing as Hospitable Practice”
a Round Table with
Prof. Sara Greaves, Aix-Marseille Université
Lou Sarabadzic, Writer and Translator
Dr Luc Dall’Armellina, CY Cergy Paris Université
Dr Elise Hugueny-Léger, University of St Andrews
Writing in a foreign language, a language which is not one’s so-called ‘native’ language, has become a widely disseminated practice. Through processes of mobility and migration, many authors have contributed to crafting and expressing what Steven G. Kellman coins the ‘translingual imagination’. How might multilingual creative writing operate as a hospitable space within which to explore plural identities? What role can writing workshops play in welcoming multilingual experience? This round table will bring together four creative writing scholars and practitioners with experience and expertise in plurilingual writing practices. They will reflect on multilingual writing as a way to generate innovative creative practices – whether it be through self-translation, collaborative writing, digital bilingual tools or plurilingual performances – and to create hospitable spaces, which acknowledge plurality – and therefore singularity.
To register for this event, please contact Dr Elodie Laügt (email@example.com)
Thursday 6th May 2021, 6-7.30pm, online via Teams
Dr Karen A. Brown
Assessing the Translator’s Commitment to Polysemy: Five English-language Versions of Sonetos del amor oscuro
Whether Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) engaged in sonnet-writing for catharsis or to offer his own contribution to stylistic approaches that had suddenly become fashionable again during the early to mid-1930s, he was neither reluctant nor overly committed to the ethos of self-revelation or to structural rigidity. The poet’s nonconformist urges are simultaneously articulated and silenced, and the silencing takes place within the text itself. Indeed, like some of his contemporaries, Lorca’s classical sonnets structurally contain his reflections on sexual marginality. But while the likes of Emilio Prados (1899-1962) and Juan Gil-Albert (1904-1994) were more explicitly revelatory in their approaches, Lorca opted for maximal disguise. Sonetos therefore functions equally as a work about generalised forbidden love, as well as textual evidence of Lorca’s personal preoccupation with unorthodox sexuality. Silences pervade the source text, as he strategized concealment via polysemy and ambiguity.
Arguing that the translator’s responsibility extends to preserving Lorca’s dual purpose, I look for what Kristine L. Muñoz describes as “instances of language use, especially that which involves silence and the unsaid,” which “make the properties polysemy, ambiguity, and strategy clear and memorable tools for analysis” (2016: 43). This paper discusses the extent to which such devices, employed by Lorca, are evident in the translated text. Extracts from five different English translations of Sonetos will be analysed: Willis Barnstone’s version in Masters of the Spanish Sonnet (1993), renderings by Angela Jaffray included in the Christopher Maurer compendium (2002), Jane Duran and Gloria Garcia Lorca’s collaborative effort (2016), Sarah Arvio’s version in Poet in Spain (2017), and Mar Escribano’s Sonnets of Dark Love (2018).
 Transcribing Silence: Culture, Relationships, and Communication (New York: Routledge, 2016).
Dr Karen A. Brown recently completed her PhD in Spanish at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on the poetry of Federico García Lorca, specifically theories surrounding Retranslation and their relevance to the Spaniard’s prolificacy in the English language. Dr Brown is currently based in Oxford, where she works as a freelance translator and tutor.
To register for this event, please contact Elodie Laügt (el40)
18th Feb. 2021, 4-5.30pm.
On the Outside of the Language Forest: Reading, Writing, and Translating Poetry
Dr Gianluca Rizzo (Colby College, Northward)
A literary critic, translator and poet, Gianluca Rizzo teaches at Colby College (Waterville, ME), where he is the Paul D and Marilyn Paganucci Associate Professor of Italian Language and Literature. His research focuses on modern and contemporary macaronic writing, contemporary poetry, theater, and aesthetics.
He published numerous articles, essays, poems and translations, both from English to Italian and vice versa (on OR, Journal of Italian Translation, Chicago Review, Italica, Forum Italicum, il Verri, Autografo, Studi Novecenteschi, etc). Among the volumes he edited are: Elio Pagliarani, Tutto il teatro (Marsilio, 2013); Carlo Goldoni, Five Comedies (with Michael Hackett, University of Toronto Press, 2016); On the Fringe of the Neoavantgarde. Ai confine della neoavanguardia. Palermo 1963. Los Angeles 2013 (Agincourt Press, 2017); Mariano Bàino, Yellow Fax and Other Poems(Agincourt Press, 2019). With Luigi Ballerini and Paul Vangelisti he also edited Nuova Poesia Americana. Chicago e le praterie(Aragno, 2019).
His latest monograph is titled Poetry on Stage: The Theatre of the Italian Neo-Avant-Garde (University of Toronto Press, 2020) and his most recent book of verse is Il lavoro meccanico. Un’apocalisse in quattro tempi (Oèdipus, 2016).
Ticket information: To register please contact Dr Elodie Laügt on firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th February 2021, 5.30-7pm
European and American Poetries and the Creation of a Modern Chinese Lyric Discourse
Professor Gregory Lee (University of St Andrews)
When general readers think of Chinese poetry, they imagine perhaps bearded sages writing poetry in misty mountain retreats. But today’s Chinese poetry is an altogether different matter. But where did it come from and what is it? Gregory Lee will explain how modern poetry differs from that was written in the space now is called China in a language that was as different from today’s Chinese as Ovid’s Latin is from Rimbaud’s French. He will discuss the relationship of poetry in the modern national language to modern American and European poetries.
Gregory Lee is the Founding Professorship of Chinese Studies at the University of St-Andrews, a writer and a broadcaster who has lived and worked in the UK, the USA, China, Hong Kong, and France. Between 1990 and 2020, he taught at the University of Lyon in France where hewas Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies, and Director of the Institute of Transtextual and Transcultural Studies. His most recent book is China Imagined: From European Fantasy to Spectacular Power (London, Hurst 2018).