THE CANTOS READING GROUP IN LONDON
by James Dowthwaite
The Cantos Reading Group is a regular event held at Senate House, University of London, on behalf of the Institute of English Studies. The group is organised by Professor Helen Carr (Goldsmiths, University of London), James Dowthwaite (Queen’s College, University of Oxford), Richard Parker and David Ashford (University of Surrey).
We meet roughly once a month during term time. Our format is to invite a guest speaker to introduce a canto of their choice. Our guest speaker will give a paper lasting around 45 minutes, followed by a further hour of group discussion of the chosen canto. This may revolve around the particular issues raised by the speaker, or it will focus on aspects of the canto not yet discussed.
We have had a range of speakers, from modernist scholars such as Ron Bush or Tim Armstrong, to poets such as Tony Lopez whose work interacts – or has interacted - with Pound and his legacy in some way. Occasionally, we will organise a round, open discussion on a particular canto, in which case we do not invite any one speaker, but instead invite all in attendance to engage in an extended discussion.
Our group is attended by a range of people, with our audience regularly drawing professional academics, postgraduate students, as well as people just interested in Pound, modernism, or poetry in general.
The first session of the group took place on 6 December 2006. (Ed.)