I’m currently getting material together for two conference papers in April. The first is for “Poetry and Happenstance” at Cambridge on April 4, which is a theme that fits nicely with the topics I’ve been pursuing over the last few years. The title I’ve given the organizers is “The way it is: authority, arbitrariness, and contingency.”
The second is a three-day Seamus Heaney Conference and Commemoration at Queen’s Belfast the following weekend. The title I’m working with right now is “Aura and Authority: Words and Dictionaries in Seamus Heaney’s Poems and Prose.”
I’m looking forward to hearing great talks at both events. The Heaney conference also comes with three poetry readings, and music. And of course it will be nice to catch up with friends and colleagues in the UK.
I would like to know more about how you are dealing with the concept of ‘aura’ in the second paper. Sounds like great stuff!
So would I! But the starting point is in this quotation, from H’s essay on Hugh MacDiarmid: “The words themselves are uncanny: whether or not their dictionary meaning is understood, it is hard to resist their phonetic allure, their aura of a meaning which has been intuited but not yet quite formulated.”