Celia Prince Profile

Doing a literature research project in London was pretty far out of Celia Prince’s element. The nursing major from Florence, Ala. had travelled to various spots in the Caribbean on cruises, but writing a “found poem” on the streets on London was definitely a new experience.

“A found poem,” Celia explained, “is basically a poem that uses different phrases from several different poems and combines them in different formats. It's a very creative process. You still want to keep the authenticity. You don’t want to just tear the poems up to where you lose the meaning.”

For her found poem, Celia used excerpts from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” “The Wasteland,” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and “Bredon Hill” by A. E. Hausman. She combined these with various other clips from newspapers, Tube stations, and bus stops to write a new poem that is about, among other things, the concept of time in London.

“I'm really fascinated with the concept of time,” Celia said. “In London you can walk down a street and see a building that’s hundreds of years old and look to the next side of the street and see one that's really modern."

Her poem addresses the complex relationship between old London and contemporary London. The writing of the poem taught her a lot about London, while also introducing her to a creative side of herself that she didn’t know was there.

“Once I got into nursing school, I feel like I lost that creative expression, so this for me has been a way to try and get some of that back.” 

What makes her project so interesting is how specific to London it actually is. Part of Celia’s research involved walking the streets that are mentioned in poems by Eliot and Hausman. It is definitely not a project made possible by travel, and Celia feels that it has bettered her personal and academic life.

“I think it adds a creative expression to my whole academic career,” she said. “Coming to London, I've experienced a lot more culture than just studying in the States. I just feel that it will really add to my education over all. And researching here, I think it adds a different dynamic. I'm walking through the streets of London, the same streets Eliot walked in The Waste Land. I'm engaging all five senses and you can't do that when you're reading a book. It just adds a different element to the research process; it's a more complete research process.”

And while the research process took up most of her time, Celia had plenty of time to fall in love with the city. Her favorite part?

“The London Eye, even though I'm terrified of heights. You can see the whole city from the very top, and just seeing the old buildings from very, very old to very, very new:  St. Paul’s Cathedral to The Shard. It's just amazing."

For students planning to go on the trip, Celia recommends doing homework before and during the stay.

“Look up things you want to do here in your free time so you know what's going on in London. I think that would make the transition a little bit easier. Just to be an active part of what's going on here, while you're here.”