Poetry & sex: medieval to post-modern

If you love reading, want to know more about poetry in English and beyond, study literature or just feel a bit sexy, join us for this series of talks and discussions on how language has been used as an extension of the body.

Starts: May 11, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Some Velvet Morning 123 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill VIC 3068
Format: Presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

Poetry and the Absent Love Object

May 11, 2013 Lecturer: Emeritus Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe (The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne)
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Through poets ranging from Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy to Gwen Harwood, this session explores how poetry has fed and fed off our never-ending yearning for the bodies and minds we can’t touch.

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Did poetry invent desire?

Aug. 10, 2013 Lecturer: Dr Stephanie Downes (Centre for Human Emotions, University of Melbourne)
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

To burn with fever, pant with lust, or pine and waste away… We all know lyrics to modern pop songs about love. Such songs have been sung, the feelings and physical states they describe not much changed, for centuries. This talk goes back to medieval and early modern Europe to explore literary styles that continue to shape how we think and write about desire in the West today.

Writing sex and gender

Oct. 15, 2013 Lecturer: Claire Gaskin and Dr Bonny Cassidy
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

Acclaimed Melbourne poet, Claire Gaskin discusses the presence of and critical reactions to sex, sexuality and feminism in her writing. Claire will introduce and read from some of her poetry, in conversation with poet and critic Bonny Cassidy.

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What’s love got to do with it?

Oct. 22, 2013 Lecturer: Dr Ali Alizadeh (Monash University)
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

According to the philosopher Alain Badiou, love is a condition for the creation of truths. Since the ancient Greeks, this has also been considered the possibility of poetry. So what truths can poetry tell us about love? Can poems offer us something more complex and more "true" than the contemporary concepts of monogamy and promiscuity, lust and fidelity?

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The art of seeing – love poetry and visual art.

Oct. 29, 2013 Lecturer: Dr Bridget Vincent ( University of Melbourne)
presentation - 45 minutes, open discussion - 45 minutes

What does it mean to see another person; and what can poetry tell us about this? Ekphrasis, or poetry about visual art, look at and respond to paintings, pieces of sculpture, and architectural structures, using them as prompts for description and reflection. They help us think about what is involved in seeing and responding to to other people, including one poem devoted to a particularly alluring statue…

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Aug. 31, 2015

About the co-ordinators: Dr Bonny Cassidy teaches literary studies and creative writing, and is a regular poetry critic, including for the Australian. Her poetry has been widely anthologised and her most recent collection is Certain Fathoms (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012). She co-curates the Winter Poetry Series at Readings Carlton. Dr Stephanie Downes conducted her PhD research in France and the UK. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne. She has taught at the University of Paris VII, Queen Mary University of London, ACU, and the University of Sydney, and published widely on medieval poetry and literary culture.