By Imogen Free
Nick Makoha’s ‘A Low-Pressure System’ moves through the past towards mythology; it is a personal journal that resists any fixity, but instead is a series, as Ivan Juritz Prize judge, Will Eaves notes, ‘perpetually in flight’. This retelling of the events related to the Entebbe hijacking in 1976 is paralleled against a series of flights from Nick’s own experience, and despite writing through dramatic historical events, his moving voice can be felt strongly throughout. This became particularly evident when listening to him read from Codex 2 during our prizegiving event at the end of June. Codex 2 is a poem about his father’s personal and political life; reading from it, we saw him half-smile as he came to the last line: ‘I had a small nonspeaking part’.
Continue reading Reflecting on This Year’s Ivan Juritz Prize
by Dr Jon Day
One of the loneliest things about life online, I’ve found, is that it denies us the full sensory range of human interaction. In lockdown I realised how much I missed not only seeing and hearing other people (sensory modes which Zoom can just about convey, even if unsatisfyingly) but how much I missed touching and even smelling other people.
Continue reading A Scratch ‘n’ sniff Ulysses
by Imogen Free
Imogen Free is a first year PhD student at King’s College London, researching modernist women’s writing, sound technology and the politics of aurality (1930-1956).
One note held her ears through the hollow thunder of traffic: in shells of buildings the whirr of unanswered telephones. They were insistent
Elizabeth Bowen, To the North
In these ‘unprecedented’ times, I’ve been surprised to discover how much I’ve missed the postgraduate research community at King’s. I miss the distinctly un-academic chatter in our research room, sharing coffee with my supervisor, and the strange charm of the floppy triangles of sandwich, with beige fillings of unidentifiable flavour and lukewarm, headache-inducing wine after conferences. Sandwiches aside, it’s been a period in which we’ve been reflecting on how our institutions can support their students and staff and it’s been a lonely, uncertain, distressing time for many reasons other than the pandemic. But I have also been fortunate enough to participate in some of the changes the research community have had to make in order to stay in contact and find modes of communion with one another, as we become ever more reliant on the medium of telecommunication.
Continue reading Techno-heartache: Reflections on the Telepoetics Symposium
by Charlotte Jones, Teaching Fellow in Victorian and Modern Literature at King’s College London
“Going where it is possible to go would not be a displacement or a decision, it would be the irresponsible unfolding of a program. The sole decision possible passes through the madness of the undecidable and the impossible: to go where (wo, Ort, Wort) it is impossible to go.”
Derrida, On the Name (Stanford UP, 1995), 50.
In one of the most durably useful of all modernist expressions of the value of novelty, Ezra Pound called on art to “make it new”. Putting aside the fact that Pound’s slogan was itself the product of historical recycling – the source is probably an anecdote about Ch’eng T’ang (Tching-thang, Tching Tang), first king of the Shang dynasty (1766–1753 BC), who was said to have a washbasin inscribed with this inspirational motto – these three words are commonly recited as the epitome of what modernism stands for: rupture, revolution, innovation, defamiliarisation, the logic of creativity-in-destruction that fortifies the avant-garde.
Continue reading “Renovate, dod gast you, renovate!”: where next for modernist studies?
by Emily Moore
Emily Moore is a Master’s student at King’s College London, taking the ‘Modern Literature and Culture’ course. Interested in rhythm in modernist literature, she is currently working on a dissertation that compares the works of Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein.
On Friday 21st June, Kings’ Gilbert Scott Chapel rang with fragments of modernist culture. Forming part of the British Association for Modernist Studies’ 2019 Conference ‘Troublesome Modernisms’, ‘The Modernist Revue’, organised by Anna Snaith, Clara Jones, and Natasha Periyan, saw an evening of music, dance, and poetry performances inspired by, or seeking to evoke, the character of the era. This it did, calling to mind a watchword of modernist studies that is constantly being reanimated and reinterpreted: fragmentation.
Continue reading The Modernist Revue: A ‘whole made of shivering fragments’