Edward Thomas is a poet of retrospect. His poetry memorialises states of mind, people, and places. It also attempts to voice what is absolutely lost and what was never significant: ‘so many things I have forgot/ That once were much to me, or that were not’, he writes. Thomas also considers obscure futures for others and for himself. His poetry anticipates indifference as much as longevity when it asks what they will ‘do when I am gone?’: ‘they will do without me as the rain/ Can do without the flowers and the grass’.
What should we do with Thomas, whose reputation and writing is more present than ever? In 2017, we will mark the centenary of his death with a major conference at Cardiff University, where an important collection of Thomas’s manuscript materials and letters are held at SCOLAR. With the preparation of a major edition of his prose and with his acknowledged centrality to new forms of nature writing, study of Thomas is now rarely confined to any single aspect of his practice. We want to celebrate Thomas and approaches to his work in the fullest possible diversity.
As a result, we invite proposals on topics including but not confined to:
- Thomas and nature writing
- Thomas and war
- Thomas and lyric
- Thomas’s prose
- Thomas’s poetic prose/prose poetics
- Thomas’s criticism
- Thomas’s life
- Thomas on Wales and England
- Thomas and his contemporaries
- Thomas and literary labour
- Thomas and friendship
- Thomas and memory
- Thomas and Modernity
- Thomas’s poetic legacy
- Thomas and love
- Thomas and the literary canon
Proposals should be 250 words long for papers that must last no more than twenty minutes. We also invite proposals for one and a half hour themed panels and actively encourage panel convenors to consider alternative formats to the traditional three-paper panel where appropriate.
Confirmed speakers include: Professor Edna Longley and Professor Lucy Newlyn
Read my interview with conference organizer Professor Katie Gramich on the life and work of Edward Thomas.
Visit the conference website for updates and information: edwardthomas100.wordpress.com