Category Archives: Contemporary

What is to be done? The politics of reaction

by Carleigh Morgan, PhD Candidate in English Research, Christine Okoth, LAHP funded PhD candidate in Contemporary American Literature, and Bryony White, LAHP funded PhD candidate in Performance Studies

In response to the results of the US presidential election, staff and students of the King’s English Department hosted a Trump Teach-In on 23rd November 2016. The workshop consisted of brief talks and activities, many of which were student-led and all of which offered a multitude of different perspectives on an event that will have lasting global repercussions.

zine image collective

Continue reading What is to be done? The politics of reaction

The Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize: 2016 winners

by Ruth Padel, Poetry Fellow

The Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize was set up to commemorate a student who loved poetry. His father Richard is always one of the judges, and I was delighted to be invited to chair the four-judge team alongside my colleagues Elizabeth Eger and Alan Marshall. We had 152 entries and the theme was ‘Time’, a general enough title to be interpreted in many more than 152 ways.

Our individual shortlists of ten had few overlaps, but one of the joys of judging the prize is discussing poems with colleagues and learning from their different ways of reading and responding. ‘Reading Poetry’ is a first year course but learning new ways of reading poetry is a lifetime’s work for everybody, and the long list we eventually worked down to this year reflects the state of contemporary poetry: extraordinarily varied.

For the first time, we awarded six Commendations, in addition to the three winners, because we couldn’t bear to give the other poems up. We also awarded a joint Third Prize: the difference between these two poems reflects the whole spectrum of possibilities for poetry today.

Featured image © Michael Handrick.


Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize winners 2016

Joint Third Prize

Poem One, by Valeria Marcon Poem One Continue reading The Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize: 2016 winners

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, 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

The Wild Court Poetry Magazine

By Declan Ryan, Visiting Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing

The idea for setting up the website which became wildcourt.co.uk was knocking around almost as soon as I came to teach at King’s in 2014.

I had previously run a reading series called Days of Roses out of which two anthologies and a supporting blog had developed. The hope was to bring Days of Roses in a new form into King’s, then develop it into a more international, wide-ranging magazine and, in time, imprint. Continue reading The Wild Court Poetry Magazine