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Celebrating Song on World Poetry Day

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Alex Lloyd tutorial.jpg

Alex Lloyd giving a German tutorial at St Edmund Hall
Alex Lloyd (right) giving a German tutorial at St Edmund Hall

As part of the celebrations for this year’s World Poetry Day (which took place on 21 March), Philip Bullock (Professor of Russian Literature and Music) and Alexandra Lloyd (Lecturer in German at St Edmund Hall and Magdalen College), who lead the Oxford Song Network at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), were interviewed for the University’s Oxford Arts Blog about poetry, song and performance.

The Oxford Song Network brings together academics from across a number of disciplines to explore the interaction of music and words in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century European song tradition. Refusing to see song as a simple form of direct translation from one artistic language to another, it instead interprets song as a complex series of dynamic interactions between literature, music and – perhaps most crucially – embodied performance.

It explores the role played by song in shaping the literary canon, but also in how poets have drawn on musical metaphors and techniques to comment on their own creative practice. Equally, it considers how song in performance can represent a site where not only music and poetry meet, but where various cultural traditions are conveyed across national and linguistic borders in acts of performance and reception. The network will also work with practitioners, primarily through its collaboration with the Oxford Lieder Festival, but also with undergraduate performers across the University.

You can read more about the network and Philip and Alex’s thoughts on people’s experiences of poetry at school, plus some of the ideas that they hope World Poetry Day can help to convey on the TORCH website here.