Comparative Poetics (seminar at ACLA 2012, Brown University, March 29-April 1, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Omaar Hena (Wake Forest University), Nathan Suhr-Sytsma (Yale University)

Comparative Poetics: Disruption and Continuity

"We need to understand colonization, exile, emigration, wandering, contamination, and unexpected consequences, […] for it is these disruptive forces that principally shape the history and diffusion of languages." How might this claim by Stephen Greenblatt in Rethinking Literary History serve to dislocate conventional geographies and periodizations of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry?

Part of the annual American Comparative Literature Association conference, this seminar examines, through a specifically comparative lens, how the genre of poetry registers rupture, change, and continuity. Seminar papers might consider, for instance, what "disruptive forces" shape the subjects, forms, and circulation of modern and contemporary poetry. How does poetry reflect and refract the larger pressures of empire, migration, diaspora and globalization? At the same time, poems are often immersed in, and self-consciously aware of, poetic precedent: how do modern and contemporary poets re-invent the history of poetry, often by borrowing from diverse poetic traditions and mixing languages? And, in the wake of Jahan Ramazani's A Transnational Poetics and Matthew Hart's Nations of Nothing But Poetry, how and why might poetry studies now demand comparative methods of analysis?

We welcome papers that employ cross-cultural, postcolonial, transnational, and global frameworks for reading poetry written in any language stretching from modernism through the present era, as well as papers that challenge the recent turn towards comparative poetry studies. We are especially interested in readings that consider poetry's peculiarities as a genre and its status within comparative literary studies at large.

Please visit in order to submit a paper to this seminar.