The Mind Sharpener: Difficult Poems, by Davide Castiglione, 24th of May, 18.00

Mind Sharpener talk

“The Mind Sharpener” – a series of lively, thought-provoking talks and debates rooted in academic research but of general interest and open to everyone. Topics range from political theory to poetry, from violence in discourse to the origins of language. The idea is to bring the fruits of research to a wide and diversified audience, and let the audience become an active participant by raising questions, proposing solutions, engaging in the tasks and activities provided by the speaker. Everything will take place in an informal and cosy atmosphere, enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine. All the discussions will be held in English.

by Davide Castiglione, on Thursday 24th of May, 18.00.

When it comes to much contemporary poetry, many readers retreat in bafflement. They may wonder, where is the story, what is the take-home message? Why do I understand all the words but the content escapes me? Is there even a content proper? No matter how many books of other genres one may have read, or how well-educated he or she is, it appears that without specific training to poetry reading there is little to be enjoyed. But often all is required is a radically different approach, and a different sets of expectations – more akin to those of the visual and plastic arts, considering the word as medium rather than a straight means of communication.

In this first meeting of the ‘Mind sharpener’ series, I draw on my scholarly research in this area, combining literary theory and the cognition of reading, to tackle the issue. The meeting will be informal, with many engaging tasks interspersed amidst the theoretical stuff. You will have the chance to experience surprise, confusion, bafflement, struggle, enlightenment perhaps – witnessing in real time how both poetry and your mind work.

—Davide Castiglione is a lecturer of language and literature at Vilnius University. His academic book on difficulty in poetry will be shortly published by Palgrave (London). He is also a practicing poet and militant critic.

Do you want to propose a talk and/or share your research with us? Write to with your proposed topic.

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Illustration: Rūta Matulevičiūtė


“The Mind Sharpener” – tai gyvų, provokuojančių bei kviečiančių pamąstymams, pokalbių ir diskusijų serija, paremta akademiniais tyrimais, tačiau aktuali ir atvira visiems. Nagrinėjamos temos nuo politikos teorijos iki poezijos, nuo smurto diskurse iki kalbos kilmės. Šia renginių serija norima pasidalinti akademinių tyrimų vaisiais su plačia ir daugialype auditorija, bei įtraukti susirinkusiuosius į diskusijas: keliant klausimus ieškant sprendimų, įsitraukiant į užduotis ir veiklas parengtas kalbančiųjų. Viskas vyks jaukioje neformalioje aplinkoje su puodeliu kavos ar vyno taure.

Pokalbiai vyks anglų kalba.

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