POETRY AND PUBLIC SPACES: FORMS, PLACES AND PRACTICES IN THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES

full name / name of organization: 
université catholique de Louvain
contact email: 
peps2015@uclouvain.be

This conference will explore the ways in which poetry has been increasingly present and inscribed in public spaces throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Off the page poetry actualizes itself in both old and new forms which deserve to be inventoried and explored in more depth. Its increased visibility, which varies according to different cultural and linguistic areas, is at the crossroads of different artistic expressions. A rather specific conception of poetics is involved in this phenomenon: one that questions the relationship between text and performativity; renews the notion of authorship (individual or collective); and re-thinks concepts related to intermediality. The inscription of poetry in public spaces suggests an autonomy that could be described as “porous” (Grabner-Wood).

We welcome abstracts that limit their analysis to:

the concept of poetry as a concrete language production that has the potential to be lastingly inscribed in textual form;
its inscription in a space that is public, in the sense of that which is non-secret, taking place in front of witnesses and open to all. As a spatial practice, the inscription must necessarily include the physical body (virtual electronic space will not be considered).

Focus will put on three main perspectives: forms, places and practices.

Forms: different modes and conditions of enunciation and/or inscription of poetry in public spaces
Whether the poetic inscription is monumental or ephemeral, or the performance singular, the poetic form cannot be dissociated from the place and individuals that make it possible, readable and audible.
- Which forms can it take?
- Which traditions does it connect to?
- Can its specific traits be analyzed? (forms of interaction with the audience, reading rhythm, shared reading experience, multisensory reception of the poem, collective emotional experience);
- At the level of its reception, what effects do the materiality of the support and mode of enunciation have on the interpretation of the poem?
Places: the issue of place opens up a wide typology since its choice bears strong implications for the meaning of a poetic enunciation or inscription. This conference will examine the impact of poetry in:
- specific places (theatres, performance halls..) or the urban outdoors (street, square, park);
- the non-places of late modernity (airports, train stations, undergrounds, shopping centers);
- nature (land art)
And conversely what is the impact of this inscription in place (material or performative) on the poetic form itself?
Practices: the issue of signifying practices leads us to question the critical and political functions of this type of poetry in public spaces (commemorative, resistance, educational, recreational, or aesthetic, etc…):
- How do these functions rely on existing frameworks, re-organize, and inscribe new meanings on them?
- How do these functions come together in individual practices (relationships between occasional poetry and enhancement of a certain national heritage, or between a singular performance and collective memory as related to the identity of a threatened community)

Abstracts of no more than 250 words, along with a brief biographical statement, should be submitted to peps2015@uclouvain.be by 15 September 2014.

The languages of the conference will be English and French. However, if you wish to present a paper in Spanish, Dutch or German, you’ll be asked to supply a summary of 1,000 words or a Power Point presentation at the time of the conference.

Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in a book project published by the scientific committee.
These contributions should be written in English or in French.
The registration fees are 60 euro.

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
interdisciplinary
international_conferences
poetry
twentieth_century_and_beyond