Berhardino Nera (right)They’re talking about us at the Royal Geographic Society today. Well, Dr Bernardino Nera (pictured right) of Tor Vergata University in Rome is.

He’s – right about now – giving a lecture on how the Poets from Liverpool played a leading role in widening interest and involvement in poetry in Britain. And he’s a key speaker in a major conference looking at the intersection of a sense of place and the global challenges of the 21st century.

The Italian academic, together with colleague Dr Floriana Marinzuli of La Sapienza University in Rome, has been studying the relationship between poets from Liverpool and the city, particularly the Liverpool Scene poets of the 1960s including Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, since he first spent time in the city in the early 1970s.

”As a seaport on the Irish Sea the city of Liverpool has a quite particular atmosphere, and the Liverpool Scene poets had a close relationship with their city…” he says, ahead of his speech to the largest gathering of academic geographers in Europe.

Over the London-based event, staged by the RGS and the Institute of British Geographers, more than 200 sessions, featuring more than 1,000 speakers from more than 35 countries will be exploring and addressing a range of issues faced in our post-financial crisis world, and of how they can be addressed.

And maybe, argues Nera, it’s time to add a little poetry back into the politics.

“Liverpool’s multicultural atmosphere has played a significant role in its cultural development,” argues Nera.

“The 1960s saw Liverpool take on a significant role, more so than any other region of Britain, in opening up involvement in the arts, including poetry, to many more people,” Nera says.

“As such, the city and its poets – because of a more visible national profile – led the way in the ‘British poetry revival’, something which continues to be reflected today in the strength of the city’s involvement in art and cultural activities.”

Good to know, then, we’re continuing the tradition nicely: and, at next month’s Chapter and Verse literary festival, at The Bluecoat, Brian Patten will be looking back over his life and works.

Ah, there’s a pleasing symmetry if ever we saw one.  Let’s hope the future’s more Roger McGough than Syliva Plath, then, eh?

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