Poetry Games: Special Issue of Comparative Literature Studies

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Jonathan Eburne (Penn State University) and Andrew Epstein (Florida State University), Comparative Literature Studies

Special Issue of Comparative Literature Studies
"Poetry Games"
Guest Editors: Jonathan Eburne (Penn State University) and Andrew Epstein (Florida State University)

Nearly one hundred years ago, the French avant-garde poet Blaise Cendrars proclaimed that "La poésie est en jeu." Although the line declares that "poetry is at stake," Cendrars also insists that a poem is a kind of game ("jeu"), a form of play. This notion that there is an intimate connection between poetry and play has a long history, and in recent years, strategies of play and the idea of poetry as game or project – in which the writer devises an idea, concept, or set of procedures or practices that help generate the work – have become central to contemporary poetry, both for poets associated with self-styled experimental movements, such as Conceptual poetry, and across the field as a whole. As many poets and scholars have noted, discussions of tactics pioneered by earlier avant-garde movements and ideas seem pervasive today: from the constraints of Oulipo, to the machine-aesthetics of Fluxus and Dada; from the radical formalisms of Imagists, Russian Formalists, and minimalists to the collective procedures of Surrealism; and from the proceduralism of Conceptualism to the psychogeography of the Situationist International. We currently find ourselves in an age of the Project: a cultural moment that finds not only writers and artists, but so-called ordinary people as well, engaging in a wide variety of experiments, often using new media and digital technologies, in which certain conditions and rules are established and actions undertaken, tasks accomplished, results recorded, documented, and circulated.

The guest editors and editor-in-chief of CLS seek essays for a special journal issue on project-oriented and procedural poetics. We welcome essays from any time period and language area that consider poetry's longstanding fascination with games, constraint, chance, generative processes, performative projects, collaborative writing, hoaxes, and other project-based or playful compositional practices. To what extent have particular historical, political, and material conditions encouraged the exploration of such practices and strategies? Does poetry as a genre have a special propensity towards play, in contrast to other forms? Are poetry games merely reactions to new technologies and historical conditions for imaginative production, or do they display the creative, disruptive potential of project-based work? How do poetry games relate to and comment upon central cultural and literary preoccupations, like authorship, originality, language, the nature of the self and subjectivity, or the relationship between art and history, politics, tradition, or popular culture? We welcome essays treating any historical period and language; we are especially interested in discussions that bring together multiple languages and traditions. Submission guidelines: http://www.cl-studies.psu.edu/submissions.shtml

Send 500-word proposals and brief CVs by 1 January 2013 to Jonathan Eburne (jpe11@psu.edu) or Andrew Epstein (aepstein@fsu.edu). Those encouraged to submit completed papers (6,000–10,000 words in length), should do so by 01 May 2013. Contributions should conform to the journal's style guide.

Proposal deadline: January 1, 2013/Completed paper deadline: May 1, 2013
Issue to appear in November 2013