Charles Olson's Legacy for Contemporary Women Poets: Poetic Citizenry in the Early 21st Century

deadline for submissions: 
September 17, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Weaver / Georgia State University
contact email: 

In 1950, Charles Olson published “Projective Verse,” an essay that deeply influenced many poets who would form the corps of the American poetic avant-garde from the 1950s into the present day.  But his legacy for contemporary women poets is quite complicated.  When he says in that essay, “keep it moving as fast as you can, citizen,” it’s unclear whether he means women poets to be fully and equally included in that poetic citizenry.  Some women poets have included themselves as addressees of Olson’s universal male pronoun in his prose and poems by unquestionably taking up the imperatives of projective verse, even in the face of direct sexism from their male colleagues.  Others, however, approach Olson’s work much more skeptically, seeing in Olson’s discourse and poetry a masculinist version of poetic progress, poetic geneaology, and approach to the environment.

This panel, proposed for the 2018 Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 (Feb. 22-24-- welcomes papers or presentations that approach Olson’s influence on contemporary women poets in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: readings of contemporary women poets grappling with Olson’s poetic influence in their own work; reconsiderations of the meanings and responsibilities of poetic citizenry as envisioned by Olson; or studies of Olsonian poetic discourse. The organizer seeks a diverse panel and especially welcomes contributions from poets and studies of the work of queer poets and poets of color. Presentations may include creative as well as critical / scholarly work.

Abstract submissions for this panel should include:


Your Abstract

  • 300-words (double-spaced and titled), omitting all references to the submitter.  Previously presented or published papers are not eligible.


A Cover Letter with your

  • Name (as it will appear in the program)
  • Address
  • E-mail address (necessary to confirm your acceptance)
  • Academic affiliation (if applicable)
  • Title of paper/work (as it will appear in the program)
  • National origin/genre of work discussed (please be specific)
  • Personal biographical note (100-150 words)


Format: MS Word preferred, but PDF or googledocs are also acceptable


Sent by September 13, 2017 to Rebecca Weaver,