The Department of English Language and Literature and the English Graduate Student Association present "Poetic Vocabulary, BASIC English, and the Art of Robert Creeley," a research lecture by Matthew Hofer, assistant professor of English, on Monday, Sept. 20, 1-2 p.m. in the Student Union Building Acoma rooms.
"Every revolution in poetry," as T. S. Eliot declared, "is apt to be, and sometimes to announce itself to be a return to common speech." Robert Creeley, a major 20th century American poet who earned his master's degree at UNM, aimed to be the author of just such a revolution. This lecture reveals what Creeley's influential early style owes to I. A. Richards and C. K. Ogden's stripped-down artificial language, BASIC English.
Hardly designed to be a medium for literature – the acronym stands for British, American, Scientific, Industrial, Commercial – this 850-word vocabulary nevertheless has surprising modernist credentials: in the 1930s it briefly captured Ezra Pound's imagination and was used to translate James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake." Hofer's lecture makes the case for why BASIC English fascinated Creeley, elucidates what it made possible for an innovative poet after World War II and explains how the art of a common language matters for literary criticism and history.
The event is free and open to the public. Contact Jesse Alemán at (505) 277-3209.