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Jun 08, 2018, 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Goldsmiths, University of London ,
Richard Hoggart Building Room 309, 8 Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK
{This conference is made possible due to the generous support of the Erasmus+ programme and the Goldsmiths ECL Department}

Sound & Silence is an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference held on 8 June 2018, hosted by the Goldsmiths Literature Seminar (GLITS) at Goldsmiths, University of London. We aim to bring together scholars across multiple fields to ask the question: how do we recognise, break and rebuild boundaries through phonic utterance and expression? What part does silence play in psycho- and socio-logical development and how do we attune ourselves to its cacophony of meanings?

Click on the 'Reserve A Place' button above to visit our event page, read the full description, and reserve your seat today!

Dr. Holly Pester
Lecturer, University of Essex
Department of Literature, Film, & Theater Studies

Drops, Pitches and Break in Civic Delivery


The delivery of a poem is more than the voice played out as utterance. Delivery is the sound a poem makes in and against the world of sounds; machines, animals, crowds; death and life; work and rest. Civic delivery, as I propose it, reads poetic sound in relation to the institutions of public speech; its sonics, its timing and its pitch. My questioning for the composition and condition of a poem is: where sound follows sound, what are we up for? What are you prepared to say, and at what moment? And then, after that, what are you prepared to sound like in the fields of speech?

‘8 black boots’?

‘the striking clatter of real work in the material world’?

‘the movement of subjectivity in language’?

‘shifts  / deports / buffers’?

What moments of a poem are cadent with civility? And what lines

will we break to create

syncopation.   Plots of silence.    Intonation?

that lifts up a possibility, or

drops an idea into the instruments of common life.

Where prosody is life, some words will scale up in both tone and grace, while in the delivery of other words, we fall at their feet. Poetic sound can break open a statement as it can break silence; its contours can define or trash                              the architecture of a poem and therefore its, and our, governance. As bodies of sound, what are we up for?


Amiri Baraka, ‘How You Sound??’, in The New American Poetry, 1945-1960, ed. by Donald Allen (University of California Press, 1960), pp. 424–25.

J. H. Prynne, ‘Mental Ears and Poetic Work’, Chicago Review, 55.1 (2010), 126.

Lisa Robertson, Nilling: Prose (Toronto: Book Thug, 2012).

Nat Raha, £/€xtinctions (sociopathetic distro).

Holly Pester is a poet and lecturer at the University of Essex, working in sound, song and speech-based poetics.




Opening Remarks


“I must go on…” Sound and Silence in Literature

Markus Hardtmann (Goldsmiths), Dictations: The Voice of the Poem in Agamben

Galina Skvortsov (Goldsmiths), Visual Silences: Negative Space in the Work of

Spiegelman, Sacco, Satrapi

Ruth Levai (Eötvös Loránd University), Silence as an Agent of the Dialogic Relationship in The Brothers Karamazov




The Silence of Desire/ the Desire of Silence: Affectual and Psychoanalytic Approaches

Natasha L. Eves (Goldsmiths), Tinnitus as a process of protest

Stian Kristensen (University of Manchester), Still Desire: The Impossible Acquiescence of a Brief Encounter




Sounding Off (Creative Session)

James Nixon (Goldsmiths), Poetry reading

Michael Page (NSAD), DIY Synth Session

Sumia Jaama (Goldsmiths), Poetry reading


Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership participants: Mediterranean Imaginaries


Political silencing and radical noise

Rory Hutchings (Goldsmiths), Sound at the limits of sense: Jordan Scott's Lanterns at Guantanamo and the subversive potential of sound

Sam Weselowski (University of Kent), Decolonizing Silence: The Sounds of Literacy and Spatiality in Jordan Abel’s Injun





Dr Holly Pester (University of Essex), Drops, Pitches and Break in Civic Delivery


Drinks reception




Goldsmiths, University of London, is a public research university in London, England, specialising in the arts, design, humanities, and social sciences. It is a constituent college of the University of London, and was founded in 1891 as Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in New Cross, London.

Goldsmiths, University of London
8 Lewisham Way, New Cross
London, SE14 6NW
Conference Room:
Richard Hoggart Building, 309
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