CFP: Composing Place in a National Context (5/3/07; MSA, 11/1/07-11/4/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Konkol
contact email: 

 Modernist Studies Association
9th Annual Conference November 1-4, 2007 Long Beach, CA
Geographies of Literary & Visual Cultures

CFP: Composing Place in a National Context

A "poet of place," "regional poet" or "geographic poet" traditionally
has been code for describing a poet's limited appeal or relevance to
any but a small local readership. In the past century poets given this
appellation have been regarded as Modernist Romantics, dedicated to
local surroundings, caring little for travel and less for the foreign,
who prefer the rural village to the spreading bourgeois lifestyle,
centered as it is on the mobility, technology and industrial
development provided by the metropole. Yet geography, place and
landscape have been central concerns for acknowledged modernist giants
like Stein, Williams, Yeats, MacDiarmid and Olson. In the 1920s the
debates about American localism reached a fever pitch with social
critics like John Dewey proclaiming America to be nothing but a
patchwork of obscure locales.

Through reinvestigations of poetic projects that embrace the vexed
question of nationalism and localism and that constitute place through
early century trans-Atlantic voyages, mid-century motor holidays,
letters and publication history in little magazines, this panel
proposes new ways of reading "place" in terms of mobility and flow.
How do poets reconstitute place––communal and psychic––along the axis
of a working class, urban elite or middle class sensibility?
Rethinking the gendered consumption of locality, how do poets
reimagine the subgenre of the prospect poem and thereby undercut a
tradition of masculine aspirations including mastery, political
authority and privileged vision? What are the consequences of travel
and the consequences of staying home? This panel invites theorizations
of the imaginative making of place, both visited and
social/epistolary, the relationship and flow of exchange between the
center and the periphery, poetry and popular culture, tourism of the
roadside attraction and the picturesque in mid-century America.

Please send a 250 word abstract and brief CV to Margaret Konkol, by May 3, 2007.

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Received on Sun Apr 22 2007 - 14:50:56 EDT