Brooklyn Poetics

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association

This is a panel to be held during NeMLA's 2011 Conference, April 7-10, at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Deadline for proposal submission is September 30, 2010.

Brooklyn is both a location and a state of mind. From the rough-and-tumble streets of Greenpoint to the refined brownstones of Brooklyn Heights, from Walt Whitman to Harvey Shapiro to Amiri Baraka, poets have lived in, looked across the river toward, complained about, and extolled the virtues of, Brooklyn. Poems have been written about the cultural landmarks, of course (Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island), but the quotidian details of life as it is lived by the residents of this "outer borough" also help provide the basis for a body of lively, engaging works which constitute "a poetics of Brooklyn."

Brooklyn has come into its own as a home for writers, artists and musicians who bring a vibrant, idiosyncratic aesthetic to "their" borough. Through examining the themes, structures, voices and styles of poems about the borough, this panel will argue for the existence of a poetics of Brooklyn grounded in the area's rich cultural heritage and the ordinary/extraordinary experiences of those people who live their lives on "the other side" of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The significance of this panel's approach is that it separates Brooklyn from the often-overwhelming shadow of her sister borough, Manhattan, examining the importance, meaning and implications of the existence of Brooklyn poetics.

Submissions should be sent to Dr. Wendy Galgan at