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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Tuesday, November 29 • 10:00am - 11:00am
Untidy Forms :: 2A6

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Paul Munden & Paul Hetherington: A Doubtful Freedom: Untidy sonnets and a contemporary poetics

What is it about the sonnet that contemporary poets feel compelled to revisit, while also deviating from its conventional attributes? Even as the sonnet was first being adapted from the Italian language into English it immediately sounded different from its Italian models. Thomas Wyatt translated Petrarch in ways that were somewhat idiosyncratic, and that suited his particular aims as a poet. He did not always write in what we now think of as conventional poetic metre or rhythms. His sonnets indicate a reluctance to find easy solutions to the problem of writing truthfully, and a recognition that poetic form often has to give way to various kinds of awkwardness if it is to register the sometimes messy travails of thought and feeling. Almost five centuries later, in the age of so-called ‘free verse’, the sonnet retains a particular allure – and continues to invite what one may call discrepancy. The ongoing experiment with the form would suggest that it has some essential relationship to certain fundamental poetic compulsions. It asserts itself persistently and is, more than a set of explicitly identifiable properties, a poetic centre of gravity that draws in even the untidiest of its relations. Two poets here investigate the untidiness of English sonnets in their earliest manifestations, and explore how – in their own recent work – they have used and adapted the form for their own purposes. 

Mags Webster: Going By ‘The Way of Dispossession’: Apophasis and Poetry

Taking the form of a lyric essay, this paper reflects on innate synergies between apophasis and the poetic process, situated within a discussion of writing and dispossession, and points out the inherent (and for a writer) apparently insurmountable irony at the heart of apophasis. Apophasis is the term for the rhetoric of negation. It is derived from the Greek words phanai “to say” and a prefix apo ‘which in this use means “away from”’(Gibbons, 2007). For many centuries, writers across the disciplines of philosophy, theology and poetry have traditionally used apophasis when attempting to “speak of” concepts or phenomena that either resist language or lie beyond human knowledge, such as the Divine. I engage with the issue of being “lost to and for words,” both from a phenomenological and poetic perspective, and I reflect on how coming up against the limits of language is, for the poet, at once desirable and problematic. Drawing from ancient and contemporary literary and theological texts such as The Mystical Theology by Pseudo-Dionsyius, the poetry of Rumi, and the writings of Alice Notley, among others, I argue that being “lost to and for words” is a form of dispossession, though of whom, and by what, is open to conjecture. I propose apophasis as a useful framework within which to survey this conundrum, describing how it offers to a writer the potential for surprising and unexpectedly rich poetic and critical outcomes.

Niloofar Fanaiyan & Shane Strange: Stealing narrative?

“Does your work straddle the line between poetry and prose? Then it’s a prose poem. Is it solidly narrative in its presentation? Then it’s probably flash fiction.” – Writer’s Relief, 2013.
      Peter Johnson suggests ‘if there is such a creature as the prose poem, […] its existence depends partly on its ability to plunder the territories of many other like genres’ (Johnson 2000). The distinction that separates prose poetry from micro-fiction or other short forms of prose often relies on the role (or ‘solidity’) of narrative. In this account, poetry is defined as an absence (or limitation) of narrative. In this presentation we will be questioning these generic distinctions by considering an example of a very short story (or microfiction) and a (lyric) poem. We will analyse each piece in terms of its narratival and lyrical qualities, identifying the techniques and degree that mark each as more or less ‘narrative’.  We suggest these different forms can ‘plunder’ the lyrical and narrative from each other and that his ‘plundering’ isn’t limited to the hazy definitions of prose poetry.



Stephanie Green

Deputy Head, School (Learning & Teaching), Griffith University
Stephanie Green is Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching) and Program Director for the Graduate Certificate in Creative and Professional Writing program, in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University. She teaches writing and cultural studies. She is a widely published essayist and short fiction writer and scholar, with work appearing in TEXT Journal, Axon and a variety of other journals.


Niloofar Fanaiyan

University of Canberra
Niloofar Fanaiyan has a PhD from the University of Canberra in creative writing. She is currently a Donald Horne Creative and Cultural Research Fellow at the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, where she also tutors in creative writing and literary studies. Her research interests are primarily in the fields of narrative theory, poetry, identity studies, and liminal spaces. She recently won the 2016 Canberra... Read More →

Paul Hetherington

Professor of Writing, University of Canberra
Paul Hetherington is Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra and Head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) there. He has published ten full-length collections of poetry, including Burnt Umber (UWAP, 2016) and five poetry chapbooks, most recently Earth. His collection, Six Different Windows won the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (poetry) and he was a finalist in the 2014 international Aesthetica... Read More →
avatar for Paul Munden

Paul Munden

Postdoctoral Fellow (Poetry & Creative Practice), University of Canberra
Paul Munden is Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Poetry & Creative Practice) at the University of Canberra. He is General Editor of Writing in Education and Writing in Practice, both published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), of which he is Director. He has worked as conference poet for the British Council and edited Feeling the Pressure: Poetry and science of climate change. Analogue/Digital, a volume of his new and... Read More →
avatar for Shane Strange

Shane Strange

Teaching Fellow, University of Canberra
Shane Strange is a doctoral candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra and an HDR member of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research (CCCR). He tutors and lectures in Writing and Literary Studies. He is a writer of short fiction and creative non-fiction who has been published widely in Australia.
avatar for Mags Webster

Mags Webster

HDR Student, Murdoch University
Originally from the UK, Mags Webster is a PhD candidate at Murdoch University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) from City University of Hong Kong, a BA with First Class Honours in English and Creative Writing from Murdoch, and BA (Hons) in English and Drama from the University of Kent. Her poetry collection The Weather of Tongues (Sunline Press) won the Anne Elder Award in 2011. 

Tuesday November 29, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
2A6 Building 2, UC

Attendees (12)