Poetry and Revolution Conference

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Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (CPRC), Birkbeck, University of London
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Poetry and Revolution Conference

Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck College, University of London, 26-27th May 2012

The current crisis makes it possible to think what couldn't be thought before. With its echoes of previous crises of modern society, it places on the agenda a reappraisal of revolutionary art from the point of view of the necessities of the present. Poetry has always had a vital relationship with revolution, notably in the 17th and 18th century bourgeois revolutions (Milton, Blake, Shelley, Victor Hugo are some of the obvious names, as well as popular radicals of the 17c and later) and in revolutionary movements of the 19th and 20th century (Rimbaud, Khlebnikov, Maiakovski, Brecht, Tzara, Vallejo, Suzanne Césaire, Diane di Prima, Baraka, Anna Mendelssohn, Ziba Karbassi, to name just a few). In fact, the names indicate that revolutionary movements have shaped the mainstream of poetry. Conversely poets have articulated the truth enunciated by revolution with a force not to be found anywhere else. It is also true that revolutionary thought, such as Marx's, cannot be properly understood without giving attention to its poetics.

Guest Speakers:
Mark Nowak, Manhattanville College, New York
Joan Retallack, Bard College, New York

Readings and performances by Joan Retallack, Mark Nowak, Harry Gilonis, Sean Bonney, Andrea Brady, Ulli Freer, Keston Sutherland, Maggie O'Sullivan, Marianne Morris and others.

We invite proposals for papers on any of the following topics, or any other you consider relevant:

1. Historical periodisation: the politics of time.
2. Work by proletarian poets.
3. The revolutionary subject in poetry: class, mass, multitude.
4. Situationism.
5. Slogans: Lenin, Deleuze, inscriptions, graffiti, redistribution of the sensible
6. "No revolution without women's emancipation: no emancipation without revolution" (Nicaraguan slogan of the 1970s). The role of gender and feminist movements in the relation between poetry and revolution.
7. The 20c European avant gardes.
8. The Egyptian Surrealist movement.
9. Intermedia work (poetry, film, architecture, agit-prop, etc) as in Eisenstein,
Khlebnikov, Vertov, and others.
10. Revolutionary transformation of language.
11. Revolutionary politics in contemporary British and American poetry.

Send your summary of ca. 250 words to Stephen Mooney: estaphin@gmail.com by 30th December 2011.

Carol Watts, Sean Bonney, Luis Trindade, Harry Gilonis, Edmund Hardy, Steve Willey, Stephen Mooney, Will Rowe, Stephen Watts, Conference Committee.

Do check out the CPRC events page for details of this and other upcoming events at Birkbeck: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/cprc/events/