What an absolutely fabulous conference on contemporary reception of the classics and whether contemporary reception signifies a democratic turn. We covered a wide variety of topics, including contemporary performance of Ancient Greek Texts, poetry, political culture and notions of democracy, Nietzsche as educator and appropriations of Cicero and Cato plus lots more.
It was a real privilege to be poet-in-residence for the conference and I very much enjoyed giving my poetry presentation based on Ovid and Horace and receiving so many interesting questions about my process. It was most encouraging to have one audience member say she had always disliked Horace but that having heard my versions she would look at him again with new eyes and a more open mind!
I also wrote a little poem to celebrate the conference itself and read it out at Saturday evening dinner. I reproduce it below, along with some photos of the weekend.
On the Turn
It was clear from the start that things would get hot,
in minutes the talk was of truth and translation,
democracy, turning, inclusive embracing;
we became what we are and not what we’re not.
I jumped on my hobby-horse, Beauty-v-Use,
I didn’t have animus hostilis in mind,
(as your travelling bard that would hardly be kind).
Plurality, synergy dare I deduce
could make us reflective and set us at peace?
But my tongue was a-gallop and ready to burn,
’til Lorna, to calm me, threatened “poetry police”
Students and scholars and poets should learn
that collaborative effort will surely increase
our love of democracy; a swerve or a turn.