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Ian Wedde: "Does Poetry Matter?"


Wed 21 Oct 2009, 6:30pm

Where: Lecture Theatre OGGB3, Owen G Glenn Building,, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland CBD

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Related Artists:

Listed by: AUP

In 2008 the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish gave his last reading in a Beirut football stadium to an audience estimated at 25,000; in salon or academic cultures, poetry book sales barely make it into the 100’s; in Bangladesh, no politician can sustain credibility without a poet to speak for them. As a process, ‘poetry’ may be one of the most archaic and self-sustaining vehicles in which language is able to journey out from the almost inaccessible places of basic cognition. As a practice, it presents a deep history whose pressures continue to extrude new language formations. And as a medium for performance, it seems capable of endless self-reinvention; or incapable of shutting up. ‘Does poetry matter?’ is a downbeat, recessionist question that may seem to beg one of two banal answers: a pragmatic no or a defensive yes. But are there more complex, interesting, and entertaining responses?

Ian Wedde, University of Auckland Creative NZ Writer-in-Residence at the Michael King Centre, has published a large number of poetry collections and novels, and two collections of essays, and his poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies. He was editor of the 1985 Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse, co-edited with Harvey McQueen, and has won many distinguished awards and fellowships. His work as an art critic led him to curate a number of key exhibitions and work as the head of art and visual culture at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa from 1994 to 2004. In 2005 he was the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow. While he holds the 2009 residency, Wedde plans to work on a new novel, a book of poems and a book-length essay about the meaning of home.

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