laureate at work

posted by Michele

It’s term-time and Poetry off the Page is in full swing at the University of Auckland. Colleague Helen Sword and I co-convene the course, now in its fourth year and with a committed and enthusiastic 2008 enrolment. We started off in the rain, chalking poems on pavements around the university and documenting responses from passers-by. Then LOUNGE #1 debuted this year’s reading series at Old Government House with an enlivening mix of student readers and local poets. Also part of the line-up was Chris Price, the inaugural Michael King Centre/University of Auckland Literary Fellow.

Now the students are wrangling their webpage assignments and making digital transformations of a print poem of their choice. After the mid-semester break, we go into the University Library’s Special Collections to look at how poems move from manuscript to multimedia environments. The students will then assemble selections of archival material for presentation on the course website.

So we’ll be busy for a while yet. Here’s a webpage Helen and I made recently as the class was asked to consider ways of presenting digitally the famous variant lines in a poem by 19th century American Emily Dickinson. We started by getting the different versions down in chalk (sunny weather this time) before going on to talk about how they might appear in virtual space.

Photo credits: Tim Page