Renowned poet, scholar and visual artist Prof Christopher Kelen gave a lecture on irony, parody and national devotion at the invitation of the Centre for Humanities Research on 19 April.
Prof Kelen’s lecture deals with paradoxes and parodies of the “anthem quality”, the soul-stirring effect that certain combinations of music and lyrics achieve, most typically in the service of national affiliation. Anthem parodies and anti-national anthems should be distinguished in order to understand the rhetorical nature of anthems and the alternative texts to which they give rise. Prof Kelen primarily discussed such texts as Marx Brothers’ Hail Freedonia (1933), Berstein and Sondheim’s America (1957), and American poet Allen Ginsberg’s poem America (1956).
A well-known Australian poet, scholar and visual artist, Prof Christopher Kelen is Associate Professor at the University of Macau, where he has been teaching Literature and Creative Writing for the last 12 years. Previous volumes of Prof Kelen’s poetry have been published in English, and translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Filipino and Swedish.