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Downtown lecture series starts off with good vibrations

August 26, 2013

English professor Mark Lussier believes that certain romantic poetry has the ability to send off rhythmic vibrations, fire up neurons in the brain and result in a physiological effect that can impact the way we see, think and feel.

Lussier, a specialist in Romantic literature and critical theory, will commence the fall 2013 Humanities Lecture Series with his presentation of “Mind, Matter, Meter: A Meditation on Rhythmic Cohesion in Romantic Poetry and Poetics.” Hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences, the lecture starts at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 5, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, room 128.

The lecture series, now in its sixth year, is open to the general public and is free.

The theme for this year’s series is titled, "The Human Condition." In addition to Romantic poetry, the series will focus on humor, queer literature and Latin American film.

“The Humanities Lecture Series provides us with opportunities to analyze, discuss and interpret current events. We look forward to public discussions that help us understand and appreciate various points of view on political, social and cultural issues,” says Frederick C. Corey, director of ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and dean of University College. “We are deeply honored that professor Lussier is presenting the first lecture of the 2013-2014 season.”

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and their communities.

Lussier, recently named the new chair of the Department of English at ASU in June, will compare the philosophy of Emmanuel Kant, the physiological work of David Hartley and the analytical work of physicist Thomas Young, and analyze how the philosophical and physiological emerge in Romantic poetry.

“Romantic poetry is just mere words if we allow it to sit on the page and do nothing,” Lussier said. “However, when we read it, examine it and let it soak in, it begins to unfold in our brain and can align the vibrations in our body with its insistent rhythms. A whole communication circuit is capable of transferring textual effect into receptive affect, and a rhythmic coincidence of mind, matter and meter takes place.”

The lecture series will continue on Sept. 16 with Manuel de Jesus Hernandez’s presentation of  “The Humorist Gustavo Arellano’s Work: Humor and the Human Condition.”

For more information on the fall 2013 Humanities Lecture Series, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at 602-496-0638 or email at