Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture: Gwyneth Lewis

Poet and author Gwyneth_Lewis | Picture by Edward_Brown

Poet and writer Gwyneth Lewis

Each year on March 8th, International Women’s Day (or on the nearest week day), the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales presents a public lecture, the Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture, to celebrate the day and to commemorate its founder. 

Ursula was an esteemed and much-loved historian at USW who, amongst many other endeavours and achievements, founded the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales.  Her premature death in 2008 was a blow to the research and teaching community at USW though this prize is one of the ways in which we remember her wonderful contribution to her subject and to the University.  The Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture is sponsored by Women’s Archive Wales/Archif Menywod Cymru

2022 Lecture

This year's lecture Chronic: Time in Health and Poetry is given by the poet and writer Gwyneth Lewis. 

"In her history of female illness, Elinor Cleghorn has written: 'For centuries, medicine has claimed that women, and their lives, are defined by their bodies and biology," Gywneth said. "But we have never been respected as reliable narrators of what has happened, what is happening to our bodies'. Illnesses that affect women more than men are notoriously undertreated. Recent figures show that surgical outcomes are worse for women operated on by male surgeons and, even to a lesser degree, female surgeons. 

"I'm recovering from a severe chronic illness which has demolished and then restructured my sense of self and time in my body. Poetry is a time-based art and, in this talk, I want to explore the indirect connections between well-being and art, as they've appeared to me during the struggle to come back out into the world again. This is a personal account and I'll read new poems as illustrations.

The lecture will be online. It is free and all are welcome. 

About Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis was Wales's National Poet from 2005-06. She wrote the bilingual words for the front of the iconic Wales Millennium Centre. She’s an award-winning poet. Her most recent collection is Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe Books). She has published seventeen books of poetry, non-fiction and, with Rowan Williams, a translation of The Book of Taliesin (Penguin Classics). Gwyneth was awarded a Cholmondely Award by the Society of Authors in 2010. She’s a freelance writer and teacher and has held a number of fellowships in the US, where she’s taught at Princeton University and is a faculty member of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont where, in 2016 she was the Robert Frost Chair of Literature.