Poetics of Home: Conference on Place and Identity, hosted by the Institute of English Studies in conjunction with Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and RHUL English.

  • Claire Cox (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


How do we articulate our changing identities as we leave our places of origin and relocate to a new place? Can one truly leave a home or homeland behind? What is the meaning of home? How do we address the complexities of migration, diaspora and capture multiple cultural identities in poetry?

This symposium featured presentations and dialogues by a diverse range of established and emerging poets and poet-researchers whose work engages with and re-interprets the meanings of homeland and cultural identity. There will be a reading by Booker prizewinning poet George Szirtes (Hungary-born author of many books including Bad Machine published by Bloodaxe), as well as translator of Hungarian) and Hannah Lowe, author of two collections, Chan and Chick (Bloodaxe Books) who has been named by Poetry Book Society as one of the Next Generation Poets in the UK.

As well as co-organising the event I was delighted to give a paper: 'Attic, Porch, Skin, Bench: Belonging and Dislocation in Brad Bechler’s When Will the Sky Fall? Hurricane Katrina, a Documentary in Poetry'. Through the paper I analysed the themes of belonging and dislocation as evident in Hurricane Katrina survivor, Brad Bechler’s collection of poetic witness When Will the Sky Fall?. Contextualizing his poetry within a framework of disaster theory and research findings relating to the increased vulnerability of the African American experience of hurricane Katrina, the lived experience of the poet, and the personae and poetics he adopts, provide insights into underlying inequalities laid bare by the devastation of the event and the dilemmas posed by its aftermath.
Period18 Mar 2017
Event typeOther


  • poetics
  • witness
  • displacement
  • Hurricane Katrina