Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Poetics of Home: Place and Identity Creative Writing Symposium

Wednesday, 05 April 2017


With the support of Santander Universities and Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, a creative writing symposium on the theme of the Poetics of Home was held at the Institute of English Studies in London on 18 March. Comprising a variety of panel presentations, discussions and readings, this one-day symposium offered a unique platform for poets, researchers and educators to establish a dialogue on the representation of homelands, migration, diaspora, language and border-crossings in contemporary poetry and poetics.

Organised jointly by Oxford Brookes research student Jennifer Wong (whose work is focused on place and identity in contemporary diaspora poetry) and research students from Royal Holloway, Claire Cox and Mary Jean Chan, the event featured a reading by T. S. Eliot prize-winner George Szirtes and Hannah Lowe,  one of the British Next Generation Poets named by the Poetry Book Society in 2014 and author of Chick and Chan (published by Bloodaxe).

The panels featured poets who were born in and grew up in many different places, including: Amali Rodrigo (Sri Lanka), Agnieszka Studzinska (Poland), Claire Cox (UK), Shanta Acharya (India), Theophilus Kwek (Singapore), Mary Jean Chan and Jennifer Wong (both Hong Kong). The speakers presented papers about their various notions of home and read from their own poetry that corresponded with the symposium’s themes. The panel discussions on family, language and diaspora and on the poetics of displacement were chaired by prizewinning author of Loop of Jade, Sarah Howe (UCL), Professor Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway) and the Director of Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, Dr Niall Munro (Oxford Brookes).

Niall Munro observed that ‘this was a really stimulating day – full of exciting connections between speakers from diverse backgrounds. Given the narrowness of much political discourse right now, it was a necessary day of debate too, illustrating the great possibilities that poetry and discussions about poetry offer us for celebrating our similarities and differences.’

There was active participation from the audience, many of whom were themselves writers,, researchers, students and educators within the creative writing community.

More information about Creative Writing course can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.