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World renowned poet demonstrates the power of language

01 April 2014 @TeesUniNews

 

An international poet whose award-winning book baffles and bemuses in equal measure has visited Teesside University to share his unique writing style with staff and students.

Experimental Canadian poet Christian Bok has been performing all over the world for more than 20 years.

His 2001 book Eunoia, which won the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize and took seven years to write, uses only one vowel in each of its five chapters to demonstrate the diversity of the English language and to prove that each vowel has its own personality.

Christian visited Teesside University as part of an international conference to celebrate the work of French author Georges Perec, whose most celebrated novel was written entirely without the letter ‘e’.

Species of Spaces: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Georges Perec took place on 28 March and brought together artists, writers, performers and researchers.

Christian worked with fellow poet Hannah Silva to put together a special spoken word performance for his first visit to Teesside University.

He said: 'For me Georges Perec is one of the most significant writers of all time and Eunoia was my way of responding to his challenge. To write in that way was so much harder than I had anticipated. I had to read the dictionary five times, but it did give me a new found appreciation of the English language.

'It was a great privilege to be invited to Teesside University to share some of my work with fellow creative people who have the same passion for the written word.'

Christian’s current project, The Xenotext, is also nearing conclusion after 12 years of work. The project involves the injection of poetry into a bacteria so that the poem becomes a living organism in its own right.

'The idea is that when we have all gone, the poetry will be able to live on,' explained Christian.

Hannah, who began writing poetry eight years ago, said: 'It was a wonderful experience to be invited to Teesside University and work with somebody like Christian – he is an inspiration. It’s important that students, writers and researchers can experience the many different variations of the English language.'

Simon Morris, a Reader in the School of Arts & Media at Teesside University, said: 'Christian Bok is one of the world’s greatest poets. To have him here at Teesside University was extraordinary.'


In the News

Top poet shares his style at university
NorthernEcho.co.uk [online] 08/04/14; The Northern Echo, 08/04/14, P.57
An international poet whose award-winning book baffles and bemuses in equal measure has visited Teesside University to share his unique writing style with staff and students.