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Professor Gill's inaugural lecture is titled, “Thirteen Ways of Looking from a Skyscraper': Modern American Poetry and Architecture”.

Professor Jo Gill to give her inaugural lecture, “Thirteen Ways of Looking from a Skyscraper': Modern American Poetry and Architecture”.

Drawing on research for her next book, Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination, which she is completing with the support of a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, Professor Gill’s lecture on Wednesday 9 March will trace some of the many ways in which the disciplines of poetry and architecture engaged with eachother throughout the period from the 1900s to the early 1970s.

Starting with Wallace Stevens in New York in the 1900s, crossing to Carl Sandburg in Chicago in the 1920s, and then following Elizabeth Bishop from the East Coast through Florida to Brazil and back, the lecture will explore how what we regard as ‘modern’ architecture and ‘modern’ poetry emerged in tandem during a period of immense social, cultural and technological change.

The lecture will set out the context and show how poets responded to and, more importantly, mediated architectural innovation, showing their readers how to understand the new environment taking shape before their very eyes.

As the lecture’s title indicates, the focus will be on poetic representations of that icon of modern American architecture – the skyscraper. Professor Gill will ask how the proliferation of the skyscraper enabled poets to think and to see differently, giving access to new (literal and metaphorical) vantage points. In establishing the case for the mutually constitutive relationship between poetry and architecture across the century, the lecture will draw on unpublished archival papers, architects’ plans, correspondence, and contemporary photographs, in addition to work by the well-known poets named above and by other, less familiar, voices.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception from 6.00 - 7.30pm in Queen's Café. To book a place, please email: or  tel: 01392 726315/5072.

Date: 1 March 2016

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