The fence furthest north: Poetry reading and book launch by Tim Cresswell

October 2015

Event: Poetry reading and book launch by Tim Cresswell, with introduction by political geographer Berit Kristoffersen
Date: 
14 October 2015
Time:  18:00 — 20:00
Location: Literaturhuset, Amalie Skram rom
Audience: Open to the public.

One of the most inspiring sessions I attended at the Nordic Geographers Meeting in Estonia this past summer was a poetry reading. In the surreal space of a classroom at the University of Tartu with peeling paint and faded taxonomic diagrams in the outside corridor, Tim Cresswell evoked with equal beauty and strangeness the landscape of Svalbard.What an honour it is now, only a few months later, to be arranging the poetry book launch for his newest sequence ‘Fence’ here in Oslo.

Tim Cresswell will read from his new book of poetry Fence, exploring the islands of Svalbard and the fence furthest north. Robert Macfarlane, author of Landmarks and The Old Ways offers the following praise: “I read Fence with a growing sense of fascination and disorientation. It is a strange and spectral volume, zigzag and jigsaw in its textures, strabismic in the sense of eerie slant that it gives to both landscape and language, born as it is of a fence that separates nowhere from the now and here, deep in the high Arctic. Moving through its poems, one experiences something of the doubling dissimulation of northern light: a fierce clarity of vision, combined with an awareness of things being uncannily off-scale and out of kilter.”

Tim Cresswell is Professor of History and International Affairs and Associate Director for Public Humanities at the Humanities Center at Northeastern University in Boston. His research interests center on the role of geographical ways of thinking in the constitution of social and cultural life both historically and in the present day western world. He is the author of five books including, most recently Place: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2014), Cresswell is also a poet and he explores similar themes in his debut collection Soil (Penned in the Margins, 2013) and his new poetry sequence Fence (Penned in the Margins 2015). He is currently working on a monograph about the idea of place based on the history of the Maxwell Street Market, Chicago and an account of the importance of place in the writings of six contemporary poets. Cresswell is a managing editor of the journal cultural geographies and the new journal GeoHumanities.

Political geographer Berit Kristoffersen will introduce Tim Cresswell, offering complementary insight into the changing environment of the Arctic.  Berit Kristoffersen is a post-doctoral researcher on the HERA-funded project Arctic Encounters. She is currently based in the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Community Planning at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. With an interest in how presents and futures are negotiated in the Arctic, Berit conducts research on how politics turns into geopolitics, how climate change is reframed as opportunistic business opportunities and how people in the North tie their identities and knowledges to the sustainability of their futures.


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