Northeast MLA Conference 2009 CFP on contemporary American Poetry:
In her 1949 work The Life of Poetry, Muriel Rukeyser writes: “Poetry depends on the moving relations within itself. It is an art that lives in time, expressing and evolving the moving relation between the individual consciousness and the world. The work that a poem does is a transfer of human energy, and I think human energy may be defined as consciousness, the capacity to make change in existing conditions” (xi). In Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice, over 40 years later, James Scully writes: Dissident poetry . . . does not respect boundaries between private and public, self and other. In breaking boundaries it breaks silences; speaking for, or at best with, the silenced; opening poetry up, putting it in the middle of life rather than shunting it off into a corner. It is a poetry that talks back, that would act as part of the world, not simply as a mirror of it” (4).
This panel considers the ways in which contemporary American poetry “talks back” to the world and ways that contemporary American poets engage with current political issues/events in an attempt to draw readers to individual and/or communal action. Papers may consider the work of an individual poet or compare several poets at once; commentaries by poets or about the state of contemporary poetics today; the role of the reader in creating meaning out of poetry that “act[s] as part of the world." Please send 500-word abstracts to Jen Riley, email@example.com, by Sept. 15, 2008 as a Word document attachment.
Associate Professor, English & Women's Studies
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N. Dartmouth, MA 02747
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