Mind Sharpener: Difficulty in Poetry, 19th of December, 19.00

Mind Sharpener talk


By Davide Castiglione

“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. 

“The idea that poetry is difficult is so deep-rooted that it almost looks like an indisputable axiom. If one keys in ‘poetry is hard to understand’, Google delivers almost 100 million results. Is this just a popular myth or is there a scientific (or quasi-scientific) explanation to it, like a cognitive mismatch between our making-sense habits and those wired in certain poems? I address this issue by drawing on my recently published monograph Difficulty in Poetry: A Stylistic Model, (Palgrave 2018). After briefly introducing previous critical views on difficulty and side themes gravitating around it (from intentionality to elitism, from abstraction to meaninglessness) I show how analysing selected poems in light of my model – which breaks down difficulty in a cluster of hierarchically arranged components across different levels – can help distinguish between different types of difficulty and help predict prototypical readerly effects. Practical implications of the model, personal anecdotes or further examples may be discussed in the Q&A session.”

Davide Castiglione holds a PhD at the University of Nottingham (UK) and is assistant professor in language and literature at Vilnius University. His academic book Difficulty in Poetry: a Stylistic Model has been recently published by Palgrave (London). He is also a practicing poet and militant critic.

All the events will be shown live on our Facebook page.

Free entrance. Donations welcome.

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

This talk is part of “Young Ideas” project – a series of cultural and artistic events focused on development of contemporary and innovative ideas, as well as supporting young, up and coming artists, musicians and makers. The project is partially funded by Vilnius City Council.

Event on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *