British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe

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Public Events in Leeds, 4-5 July

As part of our conference Mediating Climate Change (4-6 July), we have organised three public events around the themes of literature, art, and environment to take place in Leeds.

All welcome. These events are free, but places are limited so booking is essential.

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‘Through the Weather Glass’ – Poetry Performance by Lucy Burnett

Tue 4 July 2017
17:00 – 18:00 BST
Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall
University of Leeds

What if we can’t solve climate change? What if, instead of staring at our reflections in the weather glass, we travelled through everything we know about climate change and participated in the world beyond? Lucy Burnett’s hybrid novel Through the Weather Glass tells a fantastic, playful account of the author’s struggles to understand environmental change through the persona of Icarus during a 2500 mile cycle from Salford to the Greek island where Icarus fell. On the back of an extended Arts Council funded tour in 2016, this performance and installation version of the novel combines live poetry, film, installation and music, inviting the audience to join Icarus on a genre-twisting and gender-bending road trip up mountains, across plains and along the coast of our wonderfully changing world.

Lucy Burnett is a writer, artist and performer, and works as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University. Leaf Graffiti, her first poetry collection, was published by Carcanet / Northern House in 2013. Her second book, a hybrid novel called Through the Weather Glass, was published by Knives Forks & Spoons in 2013. In 2016, an interactive installation version of Through the Weather Glass toured the UK with the support of the Arts Council. Lucy is currently completing her manuscript for a second poetry collection with Carcanet Press, and developing a collaborative poetry / physical theatre sequence with OBRA, an international physical theatre company based in France. Lucy’s work frequently explores environmental questions and themes, including climate change: prior to returning to academia she worked as an environmental campaigner for organisations such as Friends of the Earth.

Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/through-the-weather-glass-poetry-performance-by-lucy-burnett-tickets-35461797190

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‘I am the Universe’: Poetry Reading and Prizegiving

Tue 4 July 2017
18:15 – 19:15 BST
Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall
Leeds

‘I am the Universe’ is a competition for young people to write poetry engaging with climate change. Working with landscape representations by contemporary artists and British Romantic writers, the poet Helen Mort created a challenge for young writers up to the age of 25, asking them to consider their place in the world and explore ideas of strange and familiar places, shifting territories, and our collective and individual responsibilities towards our planet. The competition received over 200 brilliant, searching, beautiful poems from young people all over the world.

This event will feature readings of the ten prize-winning poems as well as a specially commissioned poem by Helen Mort.

‘I am the Universe’ is the result of a collaboration between the Poetry Society and the AHRC-funded British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe project at the University of Leeds.

Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/i-am-the-universe-poetry-reading-and-prizegiving-tickets-35404218972 

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A Change in the Air: Weathers, Words, and Landscapes – Public Lecture by Alexandra Harris

Wed 5 July 2017
17:45 – 19:00 BST
Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall
Leeds

Writers and artists across the centuries, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk wind, have felt very different things.

The Anglo-Saxons before the Norman Conquest lived in a wintry world, writing about the coldness of exile or the shelters they must defend against enemies outdoors. The Middle Ages brought the warmth of spring; the new lyrics were sung in praise of blossom and cuckoos. It is hard to find a description of a rainy night before 1700, but by the end of the eighteenth century the Romantics will take a squall as fit subject for their most probing thoughts. There have been times when the numbers on a rain gauge count for more than a pantheon of aerial gods. There have been times for meteoric marvels and times for gentle breeze.

As we enter what may be the last decades of English weather as we know it, let us celebrate English air and the writers and artists who have lived in it.

Alexandra Harris is the author of Weatherland, an attempt to tell the story of English literature through changes in the weather. She is Professor of English at the University of Liverpool, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a judge of the 2017 Ondaatje Prize for work evoking the spirit of place. Previous books include Virginia Woolf, and Romantic Moderns, for which she won the Guardian First Book Award and a Somerset Maugham Award.

Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-change-in-the-air-weathers-words-and-landscapes-public-lecture-by-alexandra-harris-tickets-35541002094

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