The Motley Muse

The Various Art of Poetry, or, ‘Not the Royal Wedding’

In The White Goddess, Robert Graves describes how the status of Irish ollaves was such that they were the only members of the court apart from the King entitled to wear six different colours in their apparel, and memorably compared roving bands of itinerant bards, dazzling in their motley, to the many-coloured mixed flocks of titmice — great, blue, coal, marsh, willow, long-tailed — that roam the countryside in autumn and winter, each singing their distinctive songs.

Poets remain a motley crew, and  The Motley Muse — a day of talks and readings from some of the country’s leading poets, academics, editors and critics organised by the Ted Hughes Network at the University of Huddersfield in partnership with the Poetry Centre at Leeds University — will showcase the sheer variety and diversity of contemporary poetry.

In the opening symposium, Peter Riley and Sandeep Parmar will give their perspectives on the key developments in poetry over the last several decades; Ian Duhig will give a talk on poetic collaborations; Brian Lewis will talk about the world of small presses and independent publishers; and Clare Pollard, Chris McCabe & Vahni Capildeo will, in very different ways, discuss poetry and translation. A sound sculpture by Ryoko Akama will be in situ for the day.

After lunch we will hear readings from Jay Bernard, Zaffar Kunial, Brian Lewis and Kelvin Corcoran, who will be launching his latest book, Article 50, at the event.  At this session we will also hear readings by younger poets from the South Yorkshire Hive Network, including Northern Writers’ Award-winning Eloise Unerman.

The Motley Muse will take place at Heritage Quay at the University of Huddersfield between 9.15am and 5.00pm on Saturday 19th May. This is a public event to which all are warmly welcome. The full programme can be found here and details of how to buy tickets, including discounts, can be found here.

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