Poetry on Campus: John Seed

27 March 2017
Public event:
8.00PM - 10.00PM
Booking required:
Studio, Second Floor, Students' Union
Contact information

Name: Francesca Whisker
T: 01642 738232

A new season of poetry readings on campus, organised by Smokestack Books and supported by Ek Zuban.

There were once more than a thousand men and boys working at Brandon Pithouse in County Durham. Today the site of the colliery is a green wilderness. John Seed has set out to recover the lost and silent world of Durham pitmen – in the company of Walter Benjamin, Sid Chaplin and Charles Reznikoff. Composed of fragments of recorded speech, parliamentary reports and newspapers, Brandon Pithouse is a book about the experience of labour – about the pain and danger of working underground, about the damage to the human body and about the human relationships created in such conditions. It is a study of the attachments and distances which shape our relationships to place and time, the negotiations required to reconnect ourselves to a world that ceased to exist in the 1990s. It is a set of notes for an unmade Eisenstein film and a footnote to chapter 10 of the first volume of Marx’s Capital. And like any history, it is a ghost story.

John Seed has written ten books of poetry, including Pictures from Mayhew, New and Selected Poems, Some Poems, 2006-12 and Smoke Rising: London 1940-41. Other books include Dissenting Histories: religious division and the politics of memory in eighteenth-century England and Marx: A Guide for the Perplexed.

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