Poetry, Race, Gender, and Culture: Reading the Work of Harryette Mullen in the 1990s

deadline for submissions: 
March 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Kimberly Lamm
contact email: 

Call for papers

Poetry, Race, Gender, and Culture: Reading the Work of Harryette Mullen in the 1990s

We seek papers for a panel devoted to the work of Harryette Mullen for the National Poetry Foundation Conference, “The Poetry and Poetics of the 1990s,” June 28-July 1st 2017.  https://nationalpoetryfoundation.wordpress.com/

Harryette Mullen produced three key books of poetry in the 1990s: Trimmings (1990), S*PeRM**K*T (1992), and Muse & Drudge (1995). This panel seeks to situate these books within the literary and cultural landscape of this decade. How does Mullen’s poetry reflect and refract the cultural, theoretical, and artistic production that took place in the 1990s? What does it suggest about the cultural configurations of race and gender during this historical period? What does Mullen’s work tell us about the possibilities for poetic experiment to reveal the conceptual and political limitations placed upon race, gender, and culture in the 1990s, both in the world of poetry and the cultural worlds with which it overlaps? How can we continue to read Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge in light of Mullen’s work exposing and challenging the divisions through which poetic texts by African-American writers are perceived, identified, and read?We seek a paper that is equally attentive to Mullen’s poetic imagination—the aesthetic details of her work’s literary innovations—as it is to the cultural, theoretical, and artistic contexts with which her work engages. We are particularly interested in papers that enrich our understanding of Mullen’s work from the 1990s by placing it in conversation with the objects of material culture to which her dense poetic texts so richly refer. The paper will complement an interpretation of Trimmings as a black feminist take on fashion, clothing, and femininity and a reading of Mullen’s allusions to cartoons in S*PeRM**K*T. Therefore, we would like a paper that includes an analysis of Muse & Drudge, but that certainly is not our only criteria.Please send a 300-word abstract to kimberly.lamm@gmail.com and a short biography by Thursday March 30th at 11:59pm. The turn around will be quick, as we have been given permission by the coordinators of the conference to submit a panel proposal by April 1st.