Talks / Performances
Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor.
January 30, 2016
Suffolk University student Amanda Zarni's review of my Grolier Bookshop gig
SBS Seoul Digital Forum
Seoul, South Korea
May 20, 2016
Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Series
University of Michigan School of Art and Design
Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 11, 2010
As part of my 'Juggling Aphorisms and Mixing Metaphors' show, I invite audience members to name a theme, in response to which I must immediately come up with an aphorism. If I fail, he / she gets a free copy of my book. During this exchange at the University of Michigan, the challenge began with 'monkeys' and quickly escalated to 'Zimbabwe', 'birth control' and 'lust'...
The Sun Valley Writers' Conference
Sun Valley, Idaho
March 14, 2008
Together with Tim Crane, director of the Institute of Philosophy, and aphorist Simon May, I organized a one-day symposium on aphorisms and philosophy at Goodenough College, University of London. Poets, professors, philosophers, psychologists and comedians—all of them aphorists—from Europe and the United States gathered to discuss the aphorism as a bright, incisive way of grappling with the big questions of life—and to celebrate the form as just the thing if you hate ideologies but love ideas.
Participants included Stephen Clucas, reader in Early Modern Intellectual History at Birkbeck, University of London; Friedemann Spicker and Jurgen Wilbert, co-founders of the German Aphorism Convention and the German Aphorism Archive; Philippe Moret, author of Tradition et modernité de l’aphorisme; Sami Feiring, chairman of the Aphorism Association of Finland; film-maker Boris Mitic, who chronicled the Belgrade Aphoristic Circle in his documentary Goodbye, How Are You?; Don Paterson, Scottish poet and aphorist; James Richardson, American poet, aphorist, and professor of English and Creative Writing, Princeton University; Fulvio Fiori, Italian author, playwright and aphorist; and German psychologist and aphorist Bert Hellinger.
The folks at fora.tv recorded some of the other talks, which are linked below...
Sara Levine, associate professor, MFA in Writing Program, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explored the pleasures and dangers of using the aphorism to write “the great American novel.”
Simon May, college research fellow in Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London and author of The Little Book of Big Thoughts, highlighted the need for aphoristic wisdom in an age of declining religion.
This is the final session in full, including a Q&A at the end...
James Geary on why aphorists are pessimists—and why that's optimistic (0:25-21:07)
A.C. Grayling, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, on the optimal moments for aphorisms (21:30-34:00)
British TV comedy legend John Lloyd on jokes and aphorisms (34:00-46:35)
March 13, 2008
The night before the aphorism symposium, I did my 'Juggling Aphorisms' gig at Waterstone's, from which is extracted this clip, also courtesy of the folks at fora.tv...
The New York Public Library
Live from the NYPL
October 9, 2007
The Ilkley Literature Festival
October 1, 2006
For an example of how I deployed my fortune cookies at poetry readings, see my 1987 appearance at Larry Blake's.
The Talk Show
In 2002, I was one of the regular hosts of BBC 4’s short-lived The Talk Show, a live arts, culture, and science discussion program.
November 2, 2001
April 11, 2002
April 16, 2002
The Institute of Contemporary Arts
Feb. 26, 2002
A panel discussion focused on some of the themes addressed in my earlier book The Body Electric: An Anatomy of the New Bionic Senses, with artificial life researcher Steve Grand and artist Brian Eno.