Dr Cassandra Atherton is an award winning writer and critic from Melbourne, Australia who is currently a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies & Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University. In June, Cassandra will travel to the UK for multiple events:
Next week I am setting off on the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) poetry intensive in England with poets including Lucy Dougan, Sarah Holland-Batt, Jen Webb, Paul Munden and Paul Hetherington. I’ll be presenting and reading poetry at the Inside/Outside Carnival conference at The University of Winchester; ‘moments/that stretch horizons’: an international poetry symposium for practitioners at Oxford Brookes University; The Great Writing Conference at Imperial College, London; The Shared Futures Conference in Newcastle and the Mix Writing Digital Conference at Bath Spa University.
The Great Writing international writing conference is celebrating its 20th year. I will be presenting a paper entitled ‘Onrushing Momentum: The Prose Poem and TimeSpace’. ‘TimeSpace’ by Immanuel Wallerstein (1991) aims to eliminate dualisms and highlight the interdependency or indissolubility of time and space in human geography. Jon May and Nigel Thrift (2001) suggest that removing the space or hyphen between these two words is an attempt to eliminate any possible prioritization of one over the other, to focus instead on the ways in which “time and space are inextricably interwoven” (2). My paper applies Wallerstein’s definition to argue that TimeSpace in prose poetry functions differently to lineated poetry in the way it draws together, rather than separates lines and words, allowing for a different reading experience of prose poetry. The friction of distance is lessened by prose poetry’s tightly packed, often fully justified block of text. In this way, the prose poem invites onrushing momentum and an appeal to immediacy and intimacy. By discussing my own creative practice and prose poems authored in the Rooms and Spaces book project, my paper will focus on the way TimeSpace functions in composing metaphors, voice and narratological events for prose poems.
As part of this conference, I have also been invited to read poetry in a session on metageographies with my IPSI colleagues. All of the poems in this reading feature the actual and imagined crossing of geographical spaces. I am reading some of my poems set in New Orleans that I wrote for the Cities Anthology (Recent Works Press, 2017).