People and Poems at Political Demos

 

by Penny Newell, PhD student in the English Department

Unlike the categories of political economy, poetry will never be essential to a correct definition of capitalist society. In this sense, it will never need to exist – but it is exactly in this sense that it has something to contribute                                                                                                               Danny Hayward, ‘Militant Poetics

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A political demo is nothing without people. But what is it without poems?

On a Saturday in March 2016, over 20,000 people marched through London in solidarity with refugees who are forced to flee from their homes. The event was the yearly Stand Up To Racism national march, with the continuing aim of speaking out against racism.

We stood gathered on the smoothed flagstones of Trafalgar Square, cold, fidgety, absorbing words that confirm the great injustices of the world, eating fig rolls and sipping tea… as is the way with these things.

I wondered if anyone else was remembering the times they’d stood here before: Anti-Austerity. SlutWalk. Pride. The passage through, on the way to hear Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, when my friend turned to me and said ‘I’ve got goosebumps…’ Continue reading People and Poems at Political Demos

footnotes, [alt+cmd+f] 1.a living encyclopedia of research

 

by Fran Allfrey and Charlotte Rudman, PhD students in the Department of English and co-presenters and producers of Footnotes Radio Show, KCL Radio

We were always the talkers, the thinkers-out-loud, the ones just spilling out what came into our heads in seminars, to the disdain or amusement of our fellow undergraduates. But now as PhD students – teaching classes and attending research seminars – sometimes we restrain ourselves: worried that a half formed musing might be taken as our critical point of view; watching ourselves say ‘Is it this…? Or is it that…? Am I making any sense?’ and feeling unprofessional, that we’ve exposed ourselves as frauds.

But outside of the conventions of classroom or conference, we know that the most exciting moments come in conversations with ‘your people’. Your people can take many forms: maybe you’re in the same chronological discipline (medievalists), or perhaps your research concepts (Aristotelian philosophies across different times), or obsessive tracking of images, of poetics (of water, of sound) enter into dialogue irrespective of imagined boundaries in time or place. Continue reading footnotes, [alt+cmd+f] 1.a living encyclopedia of research

Buried Treasure (or not) at Sutton Hoo

By Fran Allfrey, LAHP/AHRC-funded PhD student in the English Department

‘The traveller to Sutton Hoo must make two kinds of journey: one in reality and one in the imagination. The destination of the real journey is a small group of grassy mounds lying beside the River Deben in south-east England. The imaginative journey visits a world of warrior-kings, large open boats, jewelled weapons, ritual killing and the politics of independence’

Martin Carver, Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings?

The travel gods were against us. The trip to Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, usually takes about two hours from London. But on this day in March, our journey took over three hours and involved a ride to the end of the London Underground, a coach, two trains, and a twenty-minute trudge uphill.

Continue reading Buried Treasure (or not) at Sutton Hoo