Why Bukowski? Why Now? May 22-25, 2014 Washington DC

full name / name of organization: 
American Literature Association

Bukowski's hostility toward academics has been well documented in his poetry and prose. Yet, what accounts for the academy's hostility toward Bukowski? As one of the most popular counter-cultural figures of mid-century America, Bukowski's work continues to influence new generations of readers looking for a writer that can cut through the façade of the American dream and deliver them a recognizably gritty reality. American popular culture seems to be primed for Bukowski, producing film after film about a similar influence delivered by the Beats, matched by James Franco's forthcoming film adaptation of Bukowski's autobiographical Ham on Rye. Coupled with recent scholarly projects like those of William Mohr, Abel Debritto and David Calonne, it appears that Bukowski may be on the brink of finding new avenues into academic conversations that have long excluded him.

This panel proposes to discuss the influence of Bukowski's work in conjunction with the study of American literature by offering unique reading strategies and theoretical interventions that include Bukowski in the ongoing study of American literature and culture. How do you assert Bukowski's place in American literature? What can current scholars do to challenge canonical practices that exclude figures like Bukowski?

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and a short bio in the body of the email to the panel organizer Jennifer Forsberg: jennifer.hagen.forsberg@gmail.com no later than 20 January 2014.