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Poetry and Philosophy Reading Group

How does poetry defend itself in the court of philosophy? Does it have any say in the matter; or does someone, or something, speak on its behalf? Does philosophy, in a perverse inversion, ever get tried in the court of poetry? This reading group places itself in the thick of these trials, tracing the debates they wage and the judgments they provoke. Readings will include twenty-first century texts that have taken the challenging entanglement of poetry, poetics and philosophy forward. These theoretical texts will be read beside poems that these texts either directly discuss or those that suggest themselves through the text.

We invite students and faculty members from departments across the university to join us!

Reading List 2019/20

Week 1, (28 October, 2019) The Affects of Poetry

Rei Terada Looking Away: Phenomenality and Dissatisfaction, Kant to Adorno

Adrienne Rich What is Found There

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Constancy to an Ideal Object

Vinod Kumar Shukla I toss a bunch of keys


Guest Discussant: Dr. Stacey McDowell



WEEK 2 (19 November, 2019) What is lost when words are wasted? What is found when they are not?

Anne Carson Economy of the Unlost (P.)


Paul Celan Speak, You Also

Basho Selected Haikus

William Carlos Williams The Red Wheelbarrow

Hugo Mujica Confession, Sunrise and Silence


Guest Discussant: Dr. Jonathan Skinner



WEEK 3 (5th February 2020, Room H422.4, 2-4 pm) Returning the Gaze or how does poetry look at the world?

Susan Stewart Poetry and the Fate of Senses


Veronica Forrest-Thomson Not Pastoral Enough

Elizabeth Bishop The Moose, At the Fishhouses, Filling Station

Augusto de Campos Uma rosa para Gertrude, Oh Tigre (Blake)


Discussant: Prof. Eileen John


WEEK 4 (11 March 2020, 5 pm) How do you speak death?

Agamben Language and Death: The Place of Negativity



Emily Dickinson There’s a certain slant of light, Because I could not stop for Death

Carlos Soto Roman Alternative set of Procedures


Discussant: Prof. Emma Mason


WEEK 5 (29th April, 2-4) Thinking the revolution in poetry and politics

Jose Carlos Mariátegui “Literature on Trial” from Seven Essays of Interpretation of Peruvian Reality



Extract from Amauta Journal

Extract from Trilce César Vallejo

Faiz Ahmad Faiz Aur bhi gham duniya mein mohabbat ke siwa

Anna Akmatova Willow, Epigram, In Memoriam, July 19, 1914

Marina Tsvetaeva Where does such tenderness come from?, I am happy living simply


Discussant: Dr. Nick Lawrence



WEEK 6 (May 2020) Poetry, World, Unevenness

Alain Badiou The Age of Poets


AK Ramanujan A Catalogue of Loss

John Donne Riding Westward, The Ecstasy, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning


Discussant: Prof. Daniel Katz


WEEK 7 (June, 2020) Critique of Anthropophagus Reason

Oswald de Andrade Anthropophagic Manifesto

Haroldo de Campos Anthropophagous Reason: Dialogue and Difference in Brazilian Culture

Silviano Santigo The Space In-Between: Essays on Latin American Culture.


Augusto de Campos selection of Concrete Poetry

Lygia Clark


Guest Discussant: TBC


Week 8 (June, 2020)

Chilean Neo Avant-gardism


Nelly Richard The Insubordination of Signs: Political Change, Cultural Transformation, and Poetics of the Crisis

Willy Thayer Technologies of Critique



Vicente Huidobro Altazor

Juan Luis Martínez The New Novel

Elvira Hernández The Chilean Flag

Carmen Berénguer Bobby Sands


Guest Discussant: TBC

That This
-Susan Howe, 2011

Day is a type when visible objects change then put on form but the anti-type That thing not shadowed The way music is formed of cloud and fire once actually concrete now accidental as half truth or as whole truth Is light anything like this stray pencil commonplace copy as to one aberrant onward-gliding mystery A secular arietta variation Grass angels perish in this harmonic collision because non-being cannot be 'this' Not spirit not space finite Not infinite to those fixed— That this millstone as such Quiet which side on which— Is one mind put into another in us unknown to ourselves by going about among trees and fields in moonlight or in a garden to ease distance to fetch home spiritual things That a solitary person bears witness to law in the ark to an altar of snow and every age or century for a day is


Mantra Mukim, Ruby Turok-Squire, Leonello Bazzurro