Irish Studies Würzburg

    Dr. Philip Coleman (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) “Feline Form: From Black Minnaloushe to Henry Pussycat” November 23, 2021, 12-14 pm c.t. (CET)

    “Feline Form: From Black Minnaloushe to Henry Pussycat”
    Datum: 23.11.2021, 12:00 - 14:00 Uhr
    Vortragende*r: Dr. Philip Coleman

    In his little book Animal Sketching (1926), Alexander Calder gave the following advice on how to sketch cats: 'Remember that "action" in a drawing is not necessarily comparable to physical action. A cat asleep has intense action.' A few years earlier, W.B. Yeats sketched the movement of one of the most memorable cats in the history of anglophone poetry, Black Minnaloushe, in his poem 'The Cat at the Moon,' published in The Wild Swans at Coole (1919). In the first part of this talk, then, I want to read Yeats's description of a cat's movement in relation to Calder's instructions. I will then use this reading to develop an idea of form that pays attention to the qualities of 'feline looseness and flexibility' that Calder sees in cats, which in turn I will suggest are picked up by American poets such as John Berryman in their manipulations of poetic form. The figure of Henry Pussycat in The Dream Songs (1969), I will argue, is an epic elaboration of the feline lyric form sketched by Yeats in 'The Cat and the Moon'. At once a consideration of poetic form and the dynamics of influence, the paper will provide an original but playful re-reading of Berryman's engagement with Yeats, specifically, while at the same time suggesting ways in which Calder's writings about art may be useful for the study of poetry.

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    Philip Coleman is a lecturer in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, where he is also a Fellow. He has published extensively on US American poetry and short fiction. His most recent publications include The Selected Letters of John Berryman (co-edited with Calista McRae, Harvard UP, 2020) and Robert Lowell and Irish Poetry (co-edited with Eve Cobain, Peter Lang, 2020). For further information, see: https://www.tcd.ie/English/staff/academic-staff/philip-coleman.php.


    This lecture is part of “WueGlobal – Writing, Learning, Digital Connection” funded by the DAAD / IVAC International Virtual Academic Collaboration Program. Participation can be applied to the WueGlobal Certificate. Please visit the WueGlobal website for more information: https://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/schreibzentrum/wueglobal/


    If you are interested in participating in this online event, please sign up by sending an email with the subject line “COLEMAN” to irishstudies@uni-wuerzburg.de by November 22, 2021. Please include your full name, affiliation or address, and a phone number.

    Please note that the above given email address is used solely for registration purposes. If you want to contact ISWÜ, please use the contact information given below.


    American Studies Würzburg (AmWü)

    Irish Studies Würzburg (ISWÜ)

    Prof. Dr. Ina Bergmann & Prof. Dr. Maria Eisenmann

    ina.bergmann@uni-wuerzburg.de, maria.eisenmann@uni-wuerzburg.de