Some Strange Elsewheres: Travel Poetry from the Beats on - University of Bedfordshire, 4th July 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Michael Faherty / University of Bedfordshire
contact email: 
travelpoetry@beds.ac.uk

Beginning with and following on from the examples of Ginsberg and the other Beat poets, we welcome papers that explore as many poetic responses to travel as possible.

The American poet Billy Collins has often called poetry ‘a kind of travel literature’, even ‘the original travel literature’. ‘I want the reader to be in the sidecar, ready,’ says Collins. ‘Then off we go. Then we can take a ride from what seemed to be a hospitable and friendly environment into an environment that’s perhaps disorienting, manipulative, or a little off balancing. I want to start in a very familiar place and end up in a strange place.’

Although Collins admits he spends more time at home these days, looking out the window, than he does travelling the world, some of his earliest influences were the Beat poets, who purposely sought out the strangest places and the most disorienting experiences. During his extensive travels around India in the early 1960s, Allen Ginsberg soon discovered, as he sat on the ghats with the saddhus, sharing chillums, the best way to remember those places and record those experiences in his diaries was through the medium of poetry, not prose.

Beginning with and following on from the examples of Ginsberg and the other Beat poets, we welcome papers that explore as many poetic responses to travel as possible.

• How have the Beats altered our attitudes towards both travel and travel writing?
• Does postwar travel poetry, like postwar travel prose, travel light, go slowly and carry less cultural baggage?
• How do postwar poets see ‘home’? How do they see ‘abroad’?
• How have the poets from these ‘strange elsewheres’ written back?
• Do the flexible forms of contemporary poetry express the experience of travel better than prose?
• Is the lyric the ultimate form of travel literature?
• How have postwar poets transformed the long tradition of travel writing?

Please submit an abstract (250 words) for a twenty-minute paper and a brief biographical blurb to travelpoetry@beds.ac.uk by 5 April 2013. Presenters will be notified by 26 April.

See www.beds.ac.uk/travelpoetry for more information

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
poetry
postcolonial
theory
travel_writing
twentieth_century_and_beyond