Alison Stone: AHRC Fellowship Recipient

Alison Stone: AHRC Fellowship Recipient

I’m basically charting an exchange of ideas and influences between a group of late modernist poets in the US called the Objectivists and a group of British poets in the UK who were working in the 50s and 60s and onwards who were really influenced by these American poets. I think what fascinates me about letters in particular is some of the criticism that you find in letters of poetry. Sometimes you can find a four or five page letter just talking about somebody’s opinion about a particular poet because they all talked to each other and gave each other recommendations: “you must read this” “you must look at this person.” And I found some really fascinating pieces of criticism from contemporaries of my poets. It just made me think about how somebody writes poetry and the process of writing poetry in a different way. I absolutely love working with primary materials, whether or not that’s manuscripts, working drafts of poems, or correspondence. Sometimes you get little newspaper cuttings and things like that within poet’s collections and it really humanizes the whole process. Even something as simple as you can be looking at a manuscript and you can see a coffee stain on it or even if somebody’s written something in fountain pen you sometimes can see a little thumbprint where it smeared and it really does it just emphasizes that this person who you admire and this literary figure was a real person like you. It humanizes the whole thing and it’s just a privilege to look at things in their original form as opposed to something which is published. You can see the work that’s gone behind it and you get more of an idea of the process, I think really, that goes into making something whether it be a poem or a bit of prose or perhaps a play or something. It makes you feel a little bit closer to that writer in some respects I’d say. I wanted to come here because the papers that you have here are very specific to my research and they’re not to be found anywhere else. So here was the only place that I applied for. I knew that I wanted to come here. I wasn’t hedging my bets by applying for lots of different institutions. The Arts and Humanities Research Council – it’s just a wonderful opportunity to be able to spend some time abroad and integrate into an international academic community.

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