CFP: Poetry and Politics (9/15/05; NEMLA, 3/2/06-3/5/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Jen Riley
contact email: 

<>Poetry and Politics: Engaging the World <>

Northeast Modern Language Association Conference
March 2-5, 2006
Philadelphia, PA <>

In What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, Adrienne Rich
asserts: "Poetry wrenches around our ideas about our lives as it grows
alongside other kinds of human endeavor. But it also recalls us to
ourselves--to memory, association, forgotten or forbidden languages"
(234). Rich also suggests that "in the act of writing, to feel our own
"questions" meeting the world's "questions," to recognize how we are in
the world and the world is in us" (Rich 26). Rich has long understood
that poetry connects with politics. In particular, as her comments
indicate, Rich believes that poetry forces us to engage with our
identities--both individual and communal--and our responsibility to the
worlds around us. Turning to poetry, one can find many examples of
Rich's belief forming in relation to current and past historical,
social, and political events. We need only to think of the response of
poets to the Iraq war (for example, see to understand the political
implications and power of poetry today. Poetry provides us with ways to
make sense of current and past historical, political, and cultural
experiences. <>

Papers are invited that consider the connections between politics and
poetry. Questions to consider include: How does poetry help us, to use
Rich's phrase, ask the world's questions? How does poetry help us make
sense of how we "are in the world and the world is in us"? What
responsibility do we have for these worlds? What role does poetry play
in making sense of history, especially traumatic events in history? How
might poetry provide us with a revolutionary language to move us toward
positive social change? Responses to these questions and more will
enable us to explore the growing relevance of poetry to our individual
and communal identities and how we understand the worlds in which we
live. <> Email 500-word abstracts as Word document attachments to Jen
Riley ( by Sept. 15, 2005.


Jeannette E. Riley
Director, Women's Studies
Assistant Professor, English
UMass Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
N. Dartmouth, MA 02747

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Received on Mon Jun 20 2005 - 10:46:38 EDT