Poetry after Collage (MSA14, Las Vegas, Oct 18-21)

full name / name of organization: 
Mia You, UC Berkeley
contact email: 


2012 marks the centenary of Picasso and Braque's experimentations with Cubist collage—experimentations that both offered an interventionary compositional technique for painting and produced a new theoretical paradigm for the materials constituting a modernist work of art. Clement Greenberg defined collage as "to paste or glue a piece of extraneous material to the surface of a picture," and we could call text itself—via newsprint, calling cards or even department store labels—one such "extraneous material" that makes its way onto the painted canvas. Perhaps this helps explain why the invention of modernist collage has had profound implications for poets as well as artists.

This panel will investigate the evolving influence of collage on poetry during the last century, as well as how poets' engagement with collage has shifted or redefined collage's function in the visual arts. Well-established topics of interest to collage (such as the clash of the lowbrow/highbrow, the recuperation of detritus and waste, the incorporation of mass culture, art's engagement with the everyday) and their implications for modern poetry are certainly appropriate and could lead the panel to addressing the relationship between poetic collage and spectacle. However, our hope is that papers will also consider the particular implications of collage on poetic form. What exactly constitutes collage in poetry? How do we distinguish poetic collage from a text that plays with allusion, citation, metonymy or polyphony? Do poets working with collage offer a new formulation of prosody? How does collage impinge on or shape the aural component of poetry? What impact has collage's modifications on foreground and background had on poetry, as played out through different planes or even emotional registers in a text?

Papers dealing with concrete moments of collision between collage and poetry (such as Stein or Apollinaire's work concurrent with Cubism; the Futurists and Vorticists' use of typography; the relationship between Schwitters' Merz projects and his writing; O'Hara's development alongside Johns and Rauschenberg; Nauman's sound collages defined as either art or poetry) are especially welcome.

Please send a 300-word abstract alongside a short academic bio (2-3 sentences) by April 3 to Mia You (miayou@gmail.com).