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Literary Festival 2013: Poetry and Politics: how well do they mix?


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Speaker(s): Carola Luther, Michael McGregor, Dr Llewelyn Morgan
Chair: Richard Bronk

Recorded on 2 March 2013 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

How well can political ideas and sentiments be expressed and illuminated in poetry? Are oblique references more successful than the overt? Is the formulation of political ideas in poetry intrinsically more difficult than other ideas? Does a poet’s expression of politics necessarily compromise her status as a poet, or are our views of these matters culturally specific, related to assumptions about and ideals of the poet that cannot be applied at all historical times.

In this panel discussion speakers will read short passages of poetry to illustrate their points.

Carola Luther is a former poet in residence at The Wordsworth Trust, now living in Yorkshire. She is the author of Arguing with Malarchy and Walking the Animals (Carcanet Press) and Herd (Wordsworth Trust). Carola will examine the topic from the perspective of contemporary poetry.

Michael McGregor is The Robert Woof Director of The Wordsworth Trust – an organisation that not only curates the world’s most important collection of Wordsworth manuscripts, but also supports contemporary poetry through readings, workshops and a poetry residence. Michael’s remarks will centre on the treatment of political issues such as the French Revolution by Wordsworth and other Romantics.

Llewelyn Morgan is lecturer in classical literature and language and tutorial fellow in classics at Brasenose College, Oxford, and author of Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse, Oxford University Press. Llewelyn will focus on the Latin poets, Virgil and Horace, who wrote under the indirect patronage of the first Roman emperor.

Richard Bronk is a visiting fellow at the European Institute, LSE, and author of The Romantic Economist (Cambridge University Press).

This event forms part of LSE's 5th Space for Thought Literary Festival, taking place from Tuesday 26 February - Saturday 2 March 2013, with the theme 'Branching Out'.

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