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Religion in Contemporary Poetry Reading Group

If expressions of religious imagination in contemporary poetry occupy a marginal dimension of an already marginal artform, we nevertheless intend to enlarge our understanding of their tenacious characters

A new reading group, “Religion in Contemporary Poetry,” will meet weekly in Easter Term. We will convene on Thursday evenings, beginning 17 May,­­­ from 7:00–8:30pm in F2 Whewell’s Court, located directly across the street from Trinity College’s Great Gate. All staff and students are welcome to attend; port and snacks will be provided.

 

Schedule of readings:

17 May – David Jones

24 May – Denise Levertov

31 May – Toby Martinez de las Rivas

7 June – Kathleen Raine

14 June   – Robert Duncan

 

Synopsis:

If expressions of religious imagination in contemporary poetry occupy a marginal dimension of an already marginal artform, we nevertheless intend to enlarge our understanding of their tenacious characters. The readings chosen this term reflect the heterogeneity of verse styles that have evolved in the United Kingdom and United States since the end of the second world war. Their poetic articulation of the religious is no less diverse: some writers attempt to delimit a functional grammar for creedal confession in a secular age, others are petitioning, praising, and prophesying from a less clearly defined theological hinterland. Regardless, it is the contemporary poet who might take the “Word” of God most seriously, and thereby illuminate the role of language in negotiating the sacred and profane.

 The spirit of the group is informal. Although we expect that fruitful discussion will extend naturally from the readings, we intend to commit a substantial portion of each meeting to oral recitation of poems. As the year winds down and deadlines approach, we hope this will be a time of conviviality when, if nothing else, we can read good poems aloud together.

 Selected readings will be sent by email. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact one of the co-organisers Thomas Graff (tkg25), Kate Banks (keb77), or Steven Toussaint (st696).

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