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Poetry symposium ponders light and darkness

Marcus Butler

8 May 2015: The University of Canberra opened its Inspire Centre to a gathering of dozens of poets and writers who spent the day contemplating light and darkness in all its forms during the Poetry on the Move symposium 'From Darkness into Light'

Distinguished professor of creative practice and director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra Jen Webb said the Poetry on the Move symposium on Friday 1 May, fostered critical thinking and a two-way conversation between writers and their audience.

“Events like this deepen our networking, but also allow writers, readers and scholars the opportunity to tease out issues of importance or concern and to begin building ways to address these topics,” Professor Webb said.

Participants in the symposium presented papers on their chosen topics, which discussed issues from the Black Saturday Bushfires to data visualisation in poetry and madness.

“We encourage our presenters to put their papers forward for peer-review and publication within the International Poetry Studies Institute journal Axon: Creative Explorations, giving them an opportunity to extend the conversation well beyond the symposium,” she said.

Probing questions from the audience also prompted further discussion among the poets and delved into their thinking in creating their critical works.

Professor Webb said questions will often spark new avenues for investigation or even help forge a new collaboration for future work.

“Through a question-and-answer session, the audience benefits too, by having the opportunity to seek clarification, offer a different perspective and have their own perceptions of a presentation filtered by the sorts of questions asked and answers given after the presentation,” Professor Webb said.

The International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) is based at the University of Canberra. It conducts research related to poetry and publishes and promulgates the outcomes of this research internationally.

The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize is accepting entries until 29 May 2015. Details are available via the VC Poetry Prize website.