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UK's first Earth Science Week celebrates link between geology and poetry

The Geological Society is organising the first UK Earth Science Week, beginning with a day-long conference celebrating the link between geology and poetry.

5 October  2011

‘It’s important that we celebrate the role the Earth sciences play in our economy and culture’, says GSL Education Officer Joanna Mears. ‘Earth scientists find and produce almost everything that civilisation needs, from power to raw materials, and the UK produces some of the best in the world. We are delighted to be hosting the first UK based Earth Science Week.’

On 10 October, ‘Poetry and geology: a celebration’ will bring together scientists and poets to explore the links between their disciplines. Speakers include author Francis Gilbert, who will give a talk about 20th century poet Wallace Stevens’ ‘The Rock’, and Gordon Peters of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. The event will explore both practical and theoretical approaches, with poet Alyson Hallett discussing her ‘Stone Diary’ project, and geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, senior lecturer in Paleobiology at Leicester University, exploring the effect current issues in science such as the Anthropocene might have on the work of poets. There will be readings from award winning poets including Penelope Shuttle, Matthew Hollis and Helen Mort.

‘This is an exciting new venture for the Society’ says convener Michael McKimm. ‘From Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney, Coleridge to Carol Ann Duffy, poets have long been inspired by geology and landforms to create some of their most memorable work. Likewise, geologists have always been keen readers and writers of poetry. This is the first time the Geological Society has organised an event to explore these links.’

The Society is developing a wide range of teaching resources and activities to celebrate the week, as well as holding a school competition in association with the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB), encouraging children to depict ‘The story of oil’.

On 13 October, Richard Edmonds of the Jurassic Coast Team at Dorset County Council will be giving a virtual tour of the Jurassic Coast, exploring the reasons behind its World Heritage Status.

'We hope the week will emphasise the role Earth sciences play in wider culture', says Mears. 'All of us are affected by geology in ways we don't always see. We are looking forward to Earth Science Week becoming a well established annual event.'

Poetry and Geology


Joanna Mears, GSL Education Officer
[email protected]
02074 320972

Michael McKimm, GSL Library Assistant and convener of 'Poetry and Geology'
[email protected]
02074 320999