CFP: [20th] Proposed Panel: "Contemporary Poet's Theater: L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E and Beyond": 20th Century Conference

full name / name of organization: 
laura hinton
contact email: 

Seeking paper abstracts on various types of contemporary American "poet's
theater" for proposed panel at the 20th Century Conference in Louisville
(February 2008). Deadline: September 12. See panel description and
submission details below:

            In recent contemporary poetics, the term "poet's theater" has become
linked with the "Language" group of writers and often directors of
poetry-plays produced as low-budget staged performances in the late 1970's
and ‘80's. Today, new productions of classic "Language"-oriented poet's
theater abound, by writers including Leslie Scalapino, Carla Harryman,
Charles Bernstein, among others. Yet there are also many contemporary
playwrights in other settings doing work that is not only aesthetically
related to "Language"-oriented theater, but which might be productively
critiqued in terms articulated by Language writers and critics writing on
avant-garde performance art. These “other” theater writers are those who
engage in “poet's theater,” by virtue of treating a written text as an act
of performance -- the drama thus emerging not from some external
"signified," but from within the “signifier," the poetic language, itself.
             This panel is an attempt to ground a definition of the term "poet's
theater" in a potentially expanding notion of the contemporary working
scene of today's American theater, both through under-financed small
public venues (like cafes or coffee houses or art-spaces) or in venues
like Off-Broadway. And it is an attempt to look at what the embodied stage
and poetic experiment have to offer one another. It is a given that
contemporary- American poet's theater (which this panel-coordinator views
as a major but often overlooked postmodern genre defying attempts to
identify and categorize it) stands well outside the established American
"realist" theater tradition of O'Neill, Miller, or Tennessee Williams. The
poet's theater we speak of is more likely to be influenced, instead, by
early 20th-century European experimentalists of the stage, like Brecht,
Beckett, and Artaud. American modernists, of course â€" like Stein, Pound,
and Djuna Barnes â€" wrote poetry plays that defied the conventions of
narrative drama. However, the focus of this panel will examine their more
contemporary inheritors. We will consider for the proposed panel any
papers about works and theater practitioners who have emerged during or
since the early stages of Language writing (for example, John Ashbery,
Bernstein, Ntozake Shange, Harryman, Scalapino, Amiri Baraka, Cherie
Moraga, Tracie Morris, as well as "non-poet" playwrights like Adrienne
Kennedy, Anna Deavere Smith, or Suzan-Lori Parks -- the latter of whose
works are based in a non-linear use of lyrical language and the
performativity of individual and community speech acts.)
             Please send a 250-300-word abstract and title describing your
proposed topic no later than SEPTEMBER 12, by e-mail only, to Laura Hinton,
Professor of English, The City College of New York
( Accompany abstract with the following
cover-sheet information needed per conference requirements:
   * Name
   * Address (preferably home)
    * E-mail address
    * Telephone number
    * Academic affiliation (if applicable)
    * Personal biographical note, (100-150 words)

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Received on Sat Sep 01 2007 - 07:17:47 EDT