University Relations and Communications

War poetry examined by Humanities Montana speaker

June 23, 2011



Cindy Bell, MSU Billings Downtown, 896-5886
Western Heritage Center, 256-6809
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Free multimedia presentations sponsored by Western Heritage Center and MSU Billings Downtown


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — War and the effects it has on people can elicit strong emotional responses. Some of those responses come in the form of prose, but also in poetry.



The topic of war and poetry will be the center of public presentations next week in Billings by a University of Montana professor.


Dr. Lisa Simon, who teaches literature at UM, will give presentations “War Poetry” on Tuesday and Thursday next week. Her multimedia presentation will be Tuesday, June 28 from noon-1 p.m. at the Western Heritage Center, 2822 Montana Ave., and from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 30 at the Garfield Community Resource Center, 3212 First Ave. S., in Room 111.


Guests are encouraged to bring sack lunch to the Tuesday session. Refreshments will be provided at the Thursday session.


All events are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by MSU Billings Downtown, The Western Heritage Center and Humanities Montana.


Simon, who serves on the speakers bureau of Humanities Montana, specializes in literary modernism (roughly between the 1890s and 1930s) and sub-specializes in “Modernist Poetry” and teaches mostly introductory courses in poetry and British literature survey courses at UM.


She notes that her presentation on World War I poets is about a significant turn in the cultural discourse of war that many historians trace to World War I trench warfare. The focal point is one single poem —Wilfred Owen's “Dulce Et Decorum Est” — which at first seems like a difficult poem (Latin title and all), but when broken down shows the author is arguing for the need to hear the stories of the soldiers. 


The talk is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation that reads much like a documentary with embedded movies and World War I images. It immerses the audience in the questions and conditions of the war and the poem is read before and after the “history immersion” to demonstrate how knowing the history brings deeper meaning to the work.



For more information, contact the Western Heritage Center at 256-6809 or Cindy Bell at MSU Billings Downtown at 896-5886.