ACLA PANEL: The Ancient Quarrell: Poetry in the Light of Philosophy

full name / name of organization: 
Trevor L Jockims, The Gradaute Center, City University of New York
contact email: 

I am writing to invite proposals for a panel on the relationship between poetry and philosophy, to take place March 29-April 1, in Providence, RI, at Brown University, during the annual ACLA conference. The panel is described below. A press has shown interested in preparing the proceedings as a book, so panelists would be invited to participate in that as well. Proposals can be submitted here: . (You can also visit and navigate to the 2012 conference page, ). Feel free to contact me with any questions. The DEADLINE to submit proposals is November 15, 2011.


What is the relationship between poetry and philosophy? This panel seeks to rescue this very important, and longstanding question, by beginning with the following caveat: The relationship of poetry to philosophy is not principally one in which poems can be used to gloss philosophical ideas, nor vise versa. These approaches may help illuminate something of the relationship but cannot, surely, BE the relationship. For Plato, who seems to be the first to have spoken of the "ancient" quarrel, the relationship between the two representational modes had to do with their proximity to truth -- something decidedly in philosophy's favor. Might there be other ways of drawing the two together? Or new ways of readings Plato's truth-test? Some questions that the panel may undertake, include:

--How does poetry as a practice resemble or differ from philosophy as a discipline?
--Which poets have profitably read philosophers, and why?
--Why is Heidegger so interested in poetry, and is he a good reader of it?
--If philosophy has a "system" for arriving at truth, does poetry have one too? Should it?
--Do poems think? If so, what does this thinking look like?
--What do we mean when we say a poet is philosophical?
--Are there poetic philosophers?
--Any other means of engaging these two clearly yet complexly related realms of human verbal inquiry are welcome!