CFP: Contemporary Lyric, Contemporary Public

Call for Papers: Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, February 22-24, 2018 at the University of Louisville
This critical panel or roundtable invites proposals from scholars working on radically contemporary poetry (published in 2015, 2016, and 2017) concerned with the ways in which the personal and the political spheres overlap. Poet, activist, and professor June Jordan wrote that “poetry is a political action…poetry means taking control of the language of your life. Good poems can interdict a suicide, rescue a love affair, and build a revolution.” In this session, we will discuss recent poetry that tackles personal, intimate details of its speakers’ lives as a means to critique systems of everyday racism and sexism, increasing wealth accumulation for the rich, destruction of the environment, and U.S. immigration policy, among other crises.

Recent collections by Solmaz Sharif, Juliana Spahr, Claudia Rankine, Anne Boyer, Ada Limón, and Ocean Vuong subvert and eschew usual poetic classifications to show us how the language of a life can also be a political action. In addition to taking the pulse of the direction of lyric form, the session is interested in the ways that contemporary poetry creates new publics through changing understanding of selfhood. For example, papers could discuss the following questions or themes:

• How is “confessional” poetry refigured or revised as experimental poetry (or vice versa) in recent publications or in their reception?
• How might the broad success of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) help us see other collections of poetry differently?
• What does conceptual writing’s brief moment tell us about reading poetry today?
• In what ways might today’s lyric (or postlyric or anti-lyric) take on radically political dimensions?
• How do you see the body figured or made public in recent collections of poetry?
• How does lyric poetry published in the last several years mark potential shifts in the way we think about capital or the economy?
• Contemporary poetry is deeply intertwined with social movements (i.e. Black Lives Matter, resistance against Trump). How do you see this relationship changing the lyric and its relation to the self?

Please send double spaced, titled, 300-word abstracts along with a 100-150 word biographical note to Keegan Cook Finberg, by September 1st for consideration. Inquiries welcome.

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