An autumn of science and literature

Mel & Kel in the Victorian Parlour

Mel & Kel in the Victorian Parlour

Mark your diaries! We have some excellent events coming up at The Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge.

I am so pleased to say that I will be resident at the Museum for the week of 19th October.

The Museum opening hours are 12:30-4:30 and I will be the Poet in the Parlour— the Victorian Parlour upstairs in the Museum, from 19-22 October.

I’ll be working on my next book, and I’ll be happy to chat with anyone who drops by about science and literature, poetry, and other related topics. You can leaf through the selection of science-inspired books I’ll bring along, and we can talk about creative writing. I may even be in costume, but I’m not making any promises.

The Whipple will also host two sci-lit events in conjunction with the Cambridge Fesival of Ideas.

Our first event will welcome Dr. John Holmes, who will read from his book, Darwin’s Bards: Poetry in the Age of Evolution. The reading and discussion will be 6-7:30pm– all are welcome; events are free, and I can highly recommend John’s readings and talks, as he is a delight to listen to.

Darwin's bards coverOver the hundred and fifty years since Darwin discovered Natural Selection, poets have explored the implications of his ideas for what it means to be a human being. Poetry not only makes us think about Darwinism in new ways, it enables us to feel more acutely and to understand more completely our own Darwinian condition.

In this talk, John Holmes, author of Darwin’s Bards, will explore some of the ways in which modern and contemporary poets have responded to Darwinism in their poems. With readings from Ted Hughes, Edwin Morgan, Amy Clampitt and others, he will make the case for poetry’s crucial role at a time when we need more urgently than ever to come to terms with Darwin’s legacy.

John Holmes is lecturer in English at the University of Reading and Director of the Modern Studies Centre for Research in 19th, 20th, and 21st Century Literature. He is the author of Darwin’s Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution (Edinburgh University Press, 2009), Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Late Victorian Sonnet Sequence: Sexuality, Belief and the Self (Ashgate, 2005) and numerous articles on Victorian, modern and Renaissance literature.

Calling all writers: Our second sci-lit event is a Creative Writing Workshop: Object Stories. The workshop will be led by Dr. Katy Price and myself. There are a limited number of places available, so please contact to pre-book a free space!

The workshop will be Thursday 29th October, 6-8pm. After some discussion of examples and technique, will use museum objects as inspiration, and provide time for each participant to create a new short piece of creative writing. This will be a unique opportunity to explore the Whipple Museum after hours and experience a new way of looking at the fascinating scientific objects the museum holds…

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