Members and affiliates of the International Poetry Studies Institute at the University of Canberra have, for some years, been visiting the United Kingdom, and collaborating with colleagues at universities across the country in symposia and other creative/research events. During 2018, poets and poetry scholars at the University of Reading (with colleagues from Oxford Brookes), and creative writers from the University of Winchester, included the IPSI folks in the Absent Presences, the Secret and the Unsayable symposium in Reading, and The Beautiful and the Grotesque symposium in Winchester. Along with a number of deeply absorbing and informative papers on the themes of each symposium, presenters showed film and still images, and read both poetry and creative prose. The great majority of presenters at each event work primarily in English, but despite the shared language, and the shared cultural traditions for people from the UK, the USA and Australia, there are very distinct differences in scholarly concerns, intellectual and creative traditions, and modes of practice. Events such as these, that illuminate differences as well as sameness, global frameworks as well as local specificities, provide real opportunities to extend both critical and creative thought, disseminate knowledge and understandings, and test out new modes of exploration. As editors of Axon: Creative Explorations we are grateful for the generous support and enthusiasm of our partners in the UK, and delighted to present a taste of what happened at each symposium.
Axon: Creative Explorations, Capsule 4 (Special Issue), April 2019