Special Issue on Merwin's The Shadow of Sirius (January 2013)

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Merwin Studies: Poetry, Poetics, Ecology
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CFP: Special Issue on W. S. Merwin's The Shadow of Sirius
Merwin Studies (www.merwinstudies.com)
Deadline: January 2013

The inaugural issue of Merwin Studies seeks to explore The Shadow of Sirius in the context of Merwin's earlier work. Merwin shares in "Worn Words" that he is drawn to the "late poems" for they "are made of words / that have come the whole way / they have been there (ln 7–10).[1] Such a line is reminiscent of Whitman's notion that a blade of grass—a poem—is nothing less than the "journey-work of the stars" ("Song of Myself").[2] This issue seeks scholarship that traces a few of the myriad trajectories in their becoming, in their journey toward making The Shadow of Sirius, and its basic premise is that through The Shadow of Sirius, Merwin pushed his poetry, poetics, and ecological vision beyond what he has accomplished thus far.

Merwin Studies is open to a wide range of forms of scholarship. We do not prescribe the form; rather, we look for authors who use the delivery of their work as part of their argumentation. To put it another way, we apply what Emerson said about the form of poetry in "The Poet" to the creative endeavor of online scholarship: "For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument that makes a poem—a thought so passionate and alive that like the spirit of a plant or an animal it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing."[3] The argument shapes the form, and a desire to bring an audience to the exploration and the exploration to the audience ought to guide the decisions regarding form.

In many ways, argumentation already shapes print texts, determining the length of the introduction, the number and length of sections, and so forth, and sometimes, the best way to make an argument is through the print text. We are open to text-heavy articles—recognizing that some arguments are best realized in that form—but we are also interested in articles that embed screen shots of close readings or videos of close readings (using screen capture technology); articles that utilize the author's photography, videography, or images taken from open access, creative commons sources; articles that are image-heavy with an author's voiceover; or whatever forms the author and the editors are able to make within the interface of merwinstudies.com.

In all cases, we call for a consistent means to clearly document all sources. Traditional gestures of scholarship do not disappear, but they are revised to harmonize with the form of argumentation. We ask that citations follow Chicago Style in general, but where and how they appear depends on the argument and the form of the argumentation.

Send submissions or queries to merwinstudies@gmail.com

[1] W. S. Merwin, The Shadow of Sirius (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2008), 68.
[2] Walt Whitman, The Walt Whitman Archive (Lincoln: Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska, 1995).
[3] Ralph Emerson, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modern Library, 2000), 290.