T S Eliot’s Daughter

Monday 26 October 2009

Influential Scottish poets will gather for the prestigious British Academy Warton Lecture in St Andrews this week to celebrate the work of Britain’s favourite poet.

The lecture is the highlight of a full day of events exploring the poetry and writings of T S Eliot, this month voted Britain’s favourite poet in a BBC online poll.

Poet Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews, and acclaimed biographer of Robert Burns, will speak on ‘T S Eliot’s Daughter’, focusing on the sea poem Marina and the childless Eliot’s exploration of paternity.

Eliot, whose work includes poems The Waste Land, Four Quartets and The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, received an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews in 1953.

Established for the British Academy in 1910, the annual Warton Lecture on English Poetry is one of the British Academy’s most esteemed literary lectures, and is always delivered at a venue outside of London as well as at the Academy.

A leading critic of Eliot’s work, and author of the recent celebrated Burns biography The Bard, Professor Crawford was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize with his sixth collection of poems, Full Volume (2008).

He said “T S Eliot is sometimes seen as cold and remote – the opposite of Robert Burns. This public lecture will pay attention to the emotional bravery of some of Eliot¿s work. Marina is a great poem of parenthood, written by a man coming to terms with his own childlessness. I want to show what makes it so moving.”

The public lecture will be preceded by a discussion by award-winning poet Don Paterson, recent recipient of this year’s Forward Prize for Poetry. He will be joined by Whitbread Poetry Prize winner John Burnside on reading and re-reading Eliot.

Conference organiser Will Gray said, “Visions haunt T. S. Eliot’s life as much as his work. This one-day conference, held in the School of English at the University of St Andrews, explores this exceptional poet and critic through his experience of the mystical within the human, the movement within stillness.”

The event in St Andrews follows the British Academy’s first Literature Week in London, bringing together the Warton Lecture and two other established literary lectures, as well as panel discussions and ‘in conversation’ events.

The Warton Lecture will be held on Wednesday 28th October at 5.15pm in School I, St Salvator’s Quad, St Andrews. Admission is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend.



Professor Robert Crawford is available for interview on 01334 462530

Admission to the T S Eliot conference which precedes the Warton Lecture will cost £20 (£10 for postgraduate students, free for undergraduate students). This registration fee secures admission to all events, plus teas and coffees and a wine reception. Space is limited so please register your place by emailing the organiser Will Gray on [email protected]



Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews 

Contact Philippa Dunn, Assistant Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref:  T S Eliot 211009
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