Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Lecture and a Poem

This is a combination post as I'm newly returned from my trip to Gloucestershire and too tired to think too much, so I'm going to share a news item about a forthcoming lecture and a poem which I came across today...

'Lectures for All series' at the University of Newcastle on Tuesday 27 September 2005 at 5:30 pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Herschel Building (Opposite Haymarket Metro Station)

Philip Pullman: 'Strangeness and Charm'

The first Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children's Literature, in association with Seven Stories: The Centre for Children's Books. Master storyteller Philip Pullman will look at what he calls "the elementary particles of story - the quarks and mesons and leptons and gluons and so ons of which stories are made - teasing apart the fundamental forces that hold stories together.

Philip Pullman recently shared the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award the world's largest and most prestigious prize for children's and young people's literature - with Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai. He will sign copies of his new book, The Scarecrow and his Servant, shortlisted for this year's Carnegie Medal, after the lecture. The lecture is free and open to all, but admission is by ticket only. Tickets are available from 12 September. For more information tel: 0191 222 6136

For general information, the Fickling Lectures will be sponsored annually by David Fickling Books (part of Random House) at the University of Newcastle. They are designed to explore the boundaries of children's literature from a variety of perspectives. David Fickling is Philip Pullman's editor and publisher and Philip Pullman is a patron of Seven Stories, The Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle, which jointly organises the series with the University of Newcastle's Children's Literature Unit. Anyone wishing to visit Seven Stories, which opened on 19 August, might like to combine that with this lecture.

I came across this poem "Dostoevsky," by Charles Bukowski (from Bone Palace Ballet © Black Sparrow Press) today and wanted to share it with you, as I thought it was an interesting expression of how one person's literary output can affect another person's life in a powerful way.


against the wall, the firing squad ready.
then he got a reprieve.
suppose they had shot Dostoevsky?
before he wrote all that?
I suppose it wouldn't have
not directly.
there are billions of people who have
never read him and never
but as a young man I know that he
got me through the factories,
past the whores,
lifted me high through the night
and put me down
in a better
even while in the bar
drinking with the other
I was glad they gave Dostoevsky a
it gave me one,
allowed me to look directly at those
rancid faces
in my world,
death pointing its finger,
I held fast,
an immaculate drunk
sharing the stinking dark with


Kelly said...

This is a great poem.

I've found in teaching Dostoevesky to countless undergraduates that it is also a very true poem. Even today.

Michele said...

Isn't it good ? I like the fact that it speaks very directly of the poet's understanding of the importance of the author's works - and that it acknowledges that Dostoevesky might not be everyone's favourite author, but his work matters to Bukowski...