Paul Munden is Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Poetry & Creative Practice) at the University of Canberra, working within the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research as Program Manager for the International Poetry Studies Institute. He is General Editor of Writing in Education and Writing in Practice, both published by the National Association of Writers in Education (UK). His collection Asterisk (2011) combines poems with photographs (by Marion Frith) in exploring Shandy Hall, the birthplace of Laurence Sterne. He has worked as conference poet for the British Council and edited Feeling the Pressure: poetry and science of climate change. Analogue/Digital, a volume of his new and selected poems, was published by Smith/Doorstop in 2015, and a new collection, Chromatic, was released by UWAP in 2017.

Paul Hetherington has published twelve full-length collections of poetry, most recently Íkaros (Recent Work Press, 2017) and Burnt Umber (UWAP, 2016). He won the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (poetry), and was shortlisted for the 2017 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, the 2017 international Bridport Prize (Flash Fiction) and the 2018 international Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (poetry). He undertook an Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board Residency at the BR Whiting Studio in Rome in 2015-16. He is Professor of Writing in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra, head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) there, and a founding editor of the international online journal Axon: Creative Explorations.

‘Paint her to your own mind’

Re-inflecting Laurence Sterne’s 18th-century gesture

In Volume VI of The Life and Adventures of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Laurence Sterne leaves page 147 entirely blank, in order that readers should create for themselves an image in their minds: ‘as like your mistress as you can——as unlike your wife as your conscience will let you’. In 2016, the Laurence Sterne Trust commissioned 147 writers and artists to put their imaginings onto the page, in whatever material form they might choose. The resulting works were exhibited at Shandy Hall, toured to further venues, and auctioned online. In this paper, two of the writers involved consider the importance of Sterne’s original gesture and its ongoing relevance in a digital age, with its emphasis on interactivity. The paper explores how various artists grappled with the complex issues of making manifest their reactions to Sterne’s invitation. It builds on papers relating to two previous Shandy Hall projects interpreting Sterne’s visual gestures within his text: ‘The Black Page’ and ‘Emblem of My Work’.