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This report is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Earwormed by a Keynote
with Added Ghosts
Vahni Capildeo
When A4 scrawlings unfolded one morning from disturbed storage, they found themselves transformed right there on their sheet into a gigantic inkstain. They were lying on there shelved, as it were grammar-plated back and did not bother fluttering up as they recalled having been divided into panels and bullet points. Apparently, poetry no longer kept to its place and was about to go down the chute. The numerous names which had been omitted from the bulk of the argument flickered like thin ghosts, powerless except in their resistance to exorcism.

This essay will attempt to metamorphose. Kafka is not the scriptwriter in the sky.

The A4 scrawlings were notes taken during Peter Riley’s speech ‘What Happened to Poetry?’. This was the keynote at ‘The Motley Muse’, an event dedicated to poetry and creativity, hosted by Steve Ely at the University of Huddersfield. The respondent, Sandeep Parmar, and her substitute, Khadijah Ibrahim, were absent for unavoidable reasons. There followed a presentation by Brian Lewis, poet and co-founder of Longbarrow Press. ‘The Edge of the Map’ saw Lewis exploring Yorkshire locations on foot with poets and others, and sharing an array of the responses produced, including some dazzling book art that one longed to be able to take out of the two­dimensional projection and hold, paper topography to wonder at in the hand. The discussion came alive, with Emma Bolland and others raising questions about access, arguing for the journeying of the feminine, disabled, queer. Perhaps Yorkshire, with its killingly beautiful ...


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