House of Eliot: poetry at Sounds New

For the second year running, the written and spoken word play an important part in Sounds New as Sounds New Poetry returns to the festival.

Writing

Mightier than the sword…

Jointly organised by the University of Kent’s centres for Modern Poetry and Creative Writing, events this year encompass a poetry-writing workshop, readings, collaborative events between poetry and improvised music, an assessment of British poetry since 1950 and an ‘open mic’ session for budding poets.

National and international poets also appear at the Festival; American poet Marianne Boruch leads a workshop open to all poets and aspiring poets on Tuesday 8 May; later on, she is joined by Daljit Nagra and Michael Schmidt in an exploration of ‘Poetry and the Quartet,’ in reply to the concert by the Arditti Quartet the previous night. ‘Common Objects’ sees an improvisatory collaboration between the University’s Patricia Debney and Nancy Gaffield and the Rhodri Davies Ensemble. On Wednesday 9 May Tony Lopez and Steve Collis present ‘Found Text’, a reading that promises an exciting conversation between poets whose work explores ideas of found materials and borrowing, and which speaks to practices of sampling and quotation in contemporary music.

In speaking to David Herd, Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry at the University, it becomes clear that there’s a real dialogue between the musical and the poetry elements in the festival this year, a result of careful planning to create related themes, both in terms of performance as well as shared thematic ideas. As well as exploring the concepts of the quartet and the quotation in music and poetry, there will be a pair of companion lectures; on Wednesday 8 May, ‘British Poetry since 1950,’ sees poet, critic, editor and translator Michael Schmidt exploring different perspectives on key aspects of post-war poetry in Britain, complementing a similar lecture on British music since 1945 which takes place the following day.

Building on the success of poetry’s involvement in Sounds New last year, the relationship between poetry and music is one that David is keen to continue to explore, and one that looks set to develop as part of the festival. ‘’It feels as though it’s an ongoing conversation, and we’re looking for new ways in which music and poetry can speak to one another.’’

It promises to be a dialogue that will create some new and unique experiences; plenty to look forward to at Sounds New this year.

With thanks to David.

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