Oral Epic Poetry

10th June 2010 19:00
Kings Place
90 York Way, N1 9AG
Some of the world's greatest poetic cultures have been unwritten, including the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, some of the foundation myths of our own culture. This event explored the nature of oral poetry, how it differs from literary written culture, and what is lost when it is written down.

The event was hosted by Peggy Reynolds, the distinguished academic and broadcaster, who presents BBC Radio 4’s programme Adventures in Poetry, and featured:

Professor Edith Hall, Research Professor at Royal Holloway University of London, where she directs the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome. She is also Co-Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama at Oxford. Her most recent book is Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun (2010);

Isabel Hilton,an award-winning broadcast and print journalist. She is also the founder and editor of Chinadialogue.net, the leading bilingual source of high quality source about environmental issues in China. She is the author of the outstanding documentary exploring the history of the Gesar of Ling, the great Tibetan oral epic poem; and

Professor Jeff Opland, Visiting Professor of African Language Literatures at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Originally trained as a medievalist, he is now a world leading expert on the oral literature of South Africa, in particular the izibongo (or praise poetry) of the Xhosa and Zulu peoples.

The event also featured poetry readings from the distinguished actor Ed Burnside.
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