BHSU Geek Speak to explore European romantic poetry during National Poetry Month

Dr. Martin Fashbaugh, assistant professor of English will explore British Romanticism in his Geek Speak lecture Thursday, April 6 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110 at BHSU.

Dr. Martin Fashbaugh, Black Hills State University assistant professor of English, will examine how the French Revolution of 1789 served as inspiration for English poets like William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge for the first April Geek Speak lecture at BHSU to start off National Poetry Month.

Fashbaugh will present "From Blake to the Beatles and Beyond: The Legacy of Romanticism" Thursday, April 6 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall room 110 on the BHSU campus. Fashbaugh says the French Revolution of 1789 not only created hope for a similar transformation in England, but it also encouraged new creative forms of expression that featured the common man and woman.

"Prior to the French Revolution, English poems were usually written by members of upper-class society, and rarely were the poems about the working class. As Wordsworth puts it in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads, poetry should now be written 'in real language really used by men'," says Fashbaugh.

Fashbaugh says traces of Romanticism can be found all over the place. One characteristic of Romanticism that has had a lasting legacy on 20th and 21st Century culture is its idealization of nature.

"Romantic poets and painters were known for their fascination with remote and uninhabited natural settings. Such fascination is still present in a wide variety of artistic and literary mediums," says Fashbaugh.  

Fashbaugh says Romantics were also advocates for the imagination and creative freedom. Rather than conforming to neoclassical rules of poetry and painting, Fashbaugh says poets and painters rebelled against conventions that placed constraints on their imagination. According to Fashbaugh, Romantics found originality to be more important than adherence to a set formula, which is a preference held by many 21st Century artists.

"I hope the audience leaves the Geek Speak lecture with a better understanding of the characteristics of British Romanticism and a better appreciation of its cultural legacy," says Fashbaugh.

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

The following on-campus Geek Speak presentations, which are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110, are scheduled for this semester:
  • April 20, "Metapatterns" by Dr. Liz Fayer, instructor/coordinator Project SECOND, and Dr. Joanna Jones, former BHSU professor
  • April 27, "Madness in Popular Culture: The 'Insanity' of Women, by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email