Of Ouija boards and the fourth dimension: queer American poetry and the world beyond

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


JHB Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


To coincide with this year’s theme for LGBT History Month, ‘Religion, Belief and Philosophy’, this lecture explores the life and work of four gay American poets of the 19th and 20th centuries: Walt Whitman, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Hart Crane and James Merrill.

Each writer became fascinated with different forms of belief, whether it was mysticism, the unconscious or the occult and used these ideas to inspire their work. But these beliefs also allowed the poets to write about their sexualities, creating ground-breaking texts that challenged the times in which they lived. What can such an imagined community of poets tell us about being ‘queer’ in the 20th century, and what can they suggest about the relationship between belief and sexuality today?

About the speaker


Dr Niall Munro is a Senior Lecturer in American Literature at Oxford Brookes. In 2015 he published a monograph about the American poet Hart Crane entitled Hart Crane’s Queer Modernist Aesthetic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and is currently at work on another book about the memory of the American Civil War in literature of the period 1891-1944. Niall is one of the key members of the Poetry Centre at Brookes.