Distinguished poetry editor of the New Yorker to discuss her controversial book at Glasgow University

Published: 19 January 2007

Alice Quinn will visit the University of Glasgow on 24 January 2007 to talk on her controversial book of Elizabeth Bishop's uncollected poems, drafts and fragments, Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke-Box

Alice Quinn, poetry editor of The New Yorker, executive director of the Poetry Society of America, and longstanding professor at Columbia University's graduate School of the Arts, will visit the University of Glasgow on 24 January 2006 to discuss her recently published edition of poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments.

Published by Carcanet last October, Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke-Box has courted much controversy due to the inclusion of incomplete drafts and other works that Elizabeth Bishop excluded from her published collections, though she carefully lodged her archive with a major library for research use.

The doyenne of American poetry criticism, Harvard Professor Helen Vendler attacked Quinn's decision to publish these pieces. She said: "Had Bishop been asked whether her repudiated poems, and some drafts and fragments, should be published after her death, she would have replied, I believe, with a horrified 'No'."

However, others have received Quinn's book with delight and gratitude, including Literary Editor for the Daily Telegraph, Sam Leith, who described the text as "Beautifully and fascinatingly annotatedナ you can see the great poems themselves emerging. A complete treasure-house."

Quinn's book relaunched an urgent, perennial debate that has arisen around the work of T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin and others, regarding the control that the poets should have over their work after death. These engaging questions will be the focus of Alice Quinn's talk.

Convener of the University's Creative Writing MLitt Course, Professor Michael Schmidt, said: "Alice Quinn is a major presence in American poetry, a great enabler, during her years at the New Yorker and before. It's a real honour to have her here in Glasgow, to talk to our students and members of the public about what has become a cause celebre in the States. "Issues of copyright ownership and control vex literary scholarship. In the nineteenth century great writers like Flaubert and Dickens and Gaskell made huge conflagrations of drafts and letters, rather than let them pass to posterity. Nowadays literary critics and historians remain divided on questions of aesthetic and personal privacy. Recently being at the heart of this debate Quinn will provide an illuminating discussion on this controversial area."

The talk will take place at 5.30pm at the Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow. The event is free and open to the public.

This event is part of a series of talks organised by the University of Glasgow's School of English and Scottish Language and Literature by individuals in the creative writing field.

The University has also recently announced it will be providing sponsorship for the Aye Write! Book Festival for the next three years.

Kate Richardson (K.Richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk)

Journalists and photographers are invited to attend the event. If you wish to do so please contact the University of Glasgow?s Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3683 or email K.Richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk

The University of Glasgow is one of the United Kingdom?s oldest and most prestigious universities, with an international reputation for its research and teaching and an important role in the cultural and commercial life of the country.

First published: 19 January 2007

<< January