Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Events Items

Vidyan Ravinthiran: “John Keats and Social Distancing”

NCLA poetry lecture series

Date/Time: Thursday 3rd December, 7-8pm

Venue: Online via Zoom

"Circumstances are like Clouds continually gathering and bursting," wrote John Keats: "while we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events—while we are laughing it sprouts it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck." He has been attacked as an escapist whose poems, notably "To Autumn", erase social realities. But he was also obsessed with the idea that the happiness of the present moment is perpetually imperilled by unhappiness encroaching from somewhere else. Now we're isolated from each other in myriad ways, and addicted via our phones to a non-stop flow of often misery-inducing news, could we learn from Keats how to be at the same time happy and politically active?

The child of Sri Lankan Tamils, Vidyan Ravinthiran grew up in Leeds and now teaches at Harvard. He's the author of two books of verse: Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe, 2014) and The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here (2019), which won a Northern Writers Award, was a PBS Recommendation, and was shortlisted for the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prizes. His book on Elizabeth Bishop's Prosaic (Bucknell UP, 2015) won both the University English Prize and the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism; his next, on Spontaneity and Form in Modern Prose, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He has published a range of both scholarly and journalistic articles on the cognitions of form in both poetry and prose, encompassing works from multiple time-periods and nations. His essays for Poetry won their Editor's Prize for Reviewing, and he’s one of the organisers of Ledbury Emerging Critics, a UK/US scheme for increasing racial diversity in review-culture.

All events are completely FREE to attend. Please register in advance for details.

Vidyan Ravinthiran