World-Building Through Sound in Children’s Poetry

29 Mar 2023 04.00 PM - 05.30 PM Virtual (Zoom) Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Katherine Wakely-Mulroney

 Sound often plays second fiddle to vision when it comes to understanding how children come to make sense of the world, the self, and others. The truth, however, is that sound structures psychic life, establishing our sense of temporality and intimacy through repetition and silence; enabling creativity through imitation with variation; and providing the tools with which we mourn the aphanisis of being itself. In this talk, I’ll ask us to explore how sound functions as world-building in children’s poetry in two ways: first to seat a child within the phenomenal world, and second to open a path to heterotopic worlds that exceed semantic structure and provide, among other things, the conditions for inner coherence and antic humour. 

Karen Coats is Professor and Director of the Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge. She is author of The Bloomsbury Introduction to Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and co-editor, with Deborah Stevenson and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, of A Companion to Children’s Literature (Wiley-Blackwell).