Panel: Identity in Verse: Poetry in the Seventeenth Century Atlantic

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Abigail Rawleigh
contact email: 

This panel for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies May 2025 “Where is Early America?” conference invites papers on the relationship between poetry and identity, broadly conceived, in the seventeenth-century. Recent work on colonial English poetry has identified both ruptures and continuities between canonical early American English poetry and its metropolitan counterparts, upsetting strict delineation between “English” and “colonial” poetry. Likewise, scholars have identified the ways in which colonial ideology is inflected in such areas as amatory and religious verse written and read on both sides of the Atlantic. Building on this momentum, this panel seeks to better understand the myriad ways poetry through both form and content inscribes, reinforces, or challenges colonial identity—political/imperial, racial, religious, regional, or otherwise.


Poetry’s ubiquity in colonial advertisements and broadsides, travel guides and settler accounts, dictionaries of Indigenous languages, and commonplace books, in addition to the more frequently studied popular religious and amatory verse, make it a fruitful medium for exploring the construction and expression of a variety of ways of being in early America. Papers might consider one of these less-studied archives, introduce new texts or methodologies, or suggest innovative ways of reading familiar colonial poets. Papers that extend beyond the Anglophone Atlantic to multilingual or comparative ways of thinking about poetry in the seventeenth century are also most welcome.


Please send a 200-word abstract and 2-page CV to Abigail Rawleigh at by August 15, 2024


A linked panel is planned for the Society of Early Americanists 2025 Biennial Conference, with a call for paper proposals forthcoming. If you would like your paper to be considered for both conferences, please indicate that in your submission email.