Conference Poem

This Conference Poem is constructed from words and images generated by conference participants in presentations and discussions, while I was Poet-in-Residence at Association of Psycho-Social Studies conference.

The ‘drop-in sessions’ focussed on creating word clouds to reflect what aspects of the conference captured peoples’ attention, and played with their order to create a poetry fragment.  These are incorporated into the poem in italics.

With all thanks to the participants of the Association for Psycho-Social Studies Conference 2018.


Drama from everyday conference life

I’m caught up in a fragile narcissism
writing new myths into the contemplation
of history, the female oedipus, the euthanasing
of the old and the young,
unintentionally sharing similar spaces,
3 chairs, 3 bears, 3 genders, 3 generations,
who cares?

The sea is not so very far away,
where undertows of violence catch on a rip-tide,
stream into graveyard memorials to
the dispossessed:
pain goes backwards and forwards; don’t forget,
even as we link arms, encircle a chain-linked fence.

Raw emotions cannot excuse banal nationalism
though we exchange hot drinks, warm hands
holding out cups of sunflower seeds
for the bourgeois gypsy, fading
even as he looks for his den.

And easier to imagine the rough sleeper
than the single room inhabitant, seeping,
where no bathroom exists for my draining soul,
and the wondering cloud, lonely as I am,
constructed as a bridge for the other,
through the mild chaos of creativity.


© Karen Izod, 2018

Photo: Dave Green

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2 Comments on “Conference Poem”

  1. Hi Karen – a bit of homework and this answers the question as to how you act as a poet at such a conference. I’m astonished the approach you adopted works so well, but then I don’t have a poet’s ear for aural detail.

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