From bees to French poetry: BU Faculty of Arts present series of talks

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A series of events presented by the Brandon University (BU) Faculty of Arts offers a timely opportunity for lovers of learning.

Thanks to opportune scheduling, the Faculty of Arts Speaker Series is presenting and co-hosting four separate events over the next two weeks. Members of the public are welcome to attend all talks.

The first is this afternoon, as Dr. Wilder Robles presents a talk on “Re-examining Agrarian Reform in Brazil.” Dr. Robles will focus on the years 1985–2015 in his talk, which takes place Friday, March 3 in Clark Hall Room 104, from 3:40–4:40 p.m.

Next week, the Faculty of Arts welcomes Dr. Olivier Parenteau, from the Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Montreal, for a pair of presentations.

A group of military men pose for a platoon portrait un WW1 dress uniforms.
“The Brandon College Platoon, 1916” (detail), as featured in “Through the Lens”. Photo courtesy the S.J. McKee Archives, Hughes collection, Davidson Studio.

First, on Thursday evening, March 9, Dr. Parenteau will speak on “The Great War and Modern French Poetry.” This talk will take place at the Brandon Public Library, in the Town Centre downtown from 7–8 p.m. The talk will be followed by a guided tour of the exhibit “Through the Lens,” by curator Suyoko Tsukamoto. “Through the Lens,” currently showing in the main gallery of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, is an exhibition of photographs that highlight the lives and times of Brandon and its soldiers during the First World War.

“Poetry often tackle the most difficult subjects, from love to war, and we are all looking forward to hearing Dr. Parenteau’s perspectives on how French poets interpret the First World War,” said Dr. Claudia Bouliane, Assistant Professor of French at BU. “Coupled with a guided tour of the photographic exhibition to follow, this is sure to be a thought-provoking evening, especially as we continue to mark the centennial of the war.”

The next afternoon, on Friday, March 10, Dr. Parenteau will present “La persistance du lyrisme dans la poésie surréaliste de Louis Aragon.” A co-presentation with the BU Department of Classic and Modern Languages, this talk will be conducted in French, and all are welcome to attend. It will take place Friday, March 10, from 3:40–5 p.m. in Clark Hall Room 104.

“This is a rare opportunity for Francophones in Westman to attend a presentation here in their own language and for Francophiles to expand their knowledge about a culture they appreciate,” said Dr. Bouliane. “It is particularly fortunate that Dr. Parenteau is able to offer presentations here in both of Canada’s official languages.”

Dr. Parenteau is a member of CRIST (Centre de recherche interuniversitaire en sociocritique des textes) and both his talks have been made possible by the generous support of Figura (Centre de recherche sur le texte et l’imaginaire).

Woman in profile writing notes in a museum
Deanna Smid

Rounding out the cycle the week after will be Dr. Deanna Smid from the BU English Department, who will present “Abuzz about the Renaissance: Singing bees in early modern English literature,” on Friday, March 17, from 3:40–4:40 p.m., again in Clark Hall Room 104.

Dr. Smid’s talk is part of a new research project of hers, in which she is examining bees as both creatures and symbols in early modern England.

“As insects that both give a painful sting yet provide sweet honey, bees offer a wealth of opportunity for me to trace artistic relationships between the physical and the metaphorical,” Dr. Smid says. “My Arts Speaker Series talk is going to focus on a particular poem by Margaret Cavendish: ‘Similizing the Head of Man to a Hive of Bees,’ in which she uses bees to describe the artistic — and painful — process of writing poetry. I think many writers in any time period will be able to relate!”


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