Math meets poetry in "Oulipo" conference at UNC Asheville
Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:25pm
On November 19 and 20, UNC Asheville will host a conference of poets and mathematicians celebrating "Oulipo," a literary movement founded in France 50 years ago this month. "Oulipo is mathematics and poetry in their most intimate interaction," says Patrick Bahls, associate professor mathematics at UNC Asheville one of the conference organizers. The term Oulipo is also used to describe forms of constrained and experimental poetry often involving the use of mathematics.
The conference will begin with a public presentation by award-winning poet and Oulipo expert Lee Ann Brown. The presentation, "Condensations and Equations: Poetry/Math" will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, in UNC Asheville's Humanities Lecture Hall, followed by a reception in UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. The conference will continue with lectures and workshops led by guest speakers and UNC Asheville professors from various departments, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. The events are free and open to the public; registration is requested.
Oulipo, an acronym for "Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle" (workshop for potential literature), was founded in 1960, and was dedicated to the development of new constraints for poetry and literature as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration. The UNC Asheville conference will focus on the creative and artistic aspects of mathematics and the formal and structural aspects of poetry. Attendees will also have the opportunity to create and share their own Oulipian works.
Lee Ann Brown is the author of two collections of poetry, "Polyverse" and "The Sleep That Changed Everything." She currently teaches poetry at St. John's University and is the editor of Tender Buttons Press. Brown is co-founder of the French Broad Institute of Time and the River, a new multi-disciplinary performance space in Marshall, NC.
Conference speakers and workshop leaders include Bahls; UNC Asheville Professor of Literature Richard Chess; UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Multimedia Arts and Sciences Curt Cloninger; math historian Sloan Despeaux; poet Michael Long; UNC Asheville Professor of Literature Merritt Moseley and poet Kristin Prevallet. This event is co-sponsored by the UNC Asheville Departments of Literature & Language and Mathematics, the P.B. Parris Fund, the UNC Asheville Curricular Enhancement Fund, and the UNC Asheville Literature and Math Clubs.
For more information or to register, the conference Web site.