UPDATE: [Poetry] CFP: Panel Proposal Avante-Garde WWI Poetry

full name / name of organization: 
Anurag Jain
contact email: 

PLEASE EMAIL: a.c.jain_at_qmul.ac.uk

The Avante-Garde and the World War: Towards dismantling the British
hegemony over ‘War Poetry’
First biannual conference of the
European Network for Avant-Garde
and Modernism Studies
29-31 May 2008
Ghent University, Belgium

        Our emotions
Are only ‘incidents’

In the effort to keep day and night together.
It seems just possible that a poem might happen
To a very young man: but a poem is not poetryâ€"
That is a life.

War is not life: it is a situation,
One which may neither be ignored nor accepted,
A problem to be met with ambush and stratagem,
Enveloped or scattered.

The enduring is not a substitute for the transient,
Neither one for the other. But the abstract conception
Of private experience at its greatest intensity
Becoming universal, which we call ‘poetry’,
May be affirmed in verse.

T.S. Eliot, “A Note on War Poetry” (1942)

A canon of what has come to be known as World War One poetry has emerged in
the wake of Paul Fussell’s influential study, The Great War and Modern
Memory (1975). The title First World War Poetry is really a cipher
primarily for trench protest poetry. Fussell’s focus on a small group of
protest poets has come under great scrutiny by a variety of critics. As a
result, the canon of war poetry has widened to include poetry written by
women, patriotic poetry written in favour of the war and poetry written on
the home front as well. What hasn’t been challenged is how the very
designation of war poetry is primarily English, it recounts experiences
limited to either the home or the Western Fronts, and for the most part,
excludes experimental, modernist, and avant-garde writing. For example,
France’s relationship to the war is not as definitively unified in the
opinion that the war was a tragedy that needed protesting and the poets
that fought in the war, certainly more influential, international and
lasting than their English counterparts, included Appolinaire and Cendrars.
 These highly experimental poets experienced the war, but their poetry
belied the experience in ways that aren’t as immediately evident when
compared to their English counterparts. Writing that doesn’t deal with
experiences of the war has not considered as politically engaged enough,
traditionally, to merit the title of “World War One Poetry”.

This panel seeks to further dismantle the commonly held understanding of
World War One Poetry as English and in opposition to avant-garde writing.
With its emphasis on the imagination instead of experience, experimental
modernist writing, produced in a variety of different languages, responded
to the war in remarkably diverse set of ways that have remained poetically
influential and engaging.

Papers are requested to form a panel for the European Avant-Garde and
Modernist Studies Conference in Belgium in May 2008 (see below). Papers
should focus on ways of challenging the male, English, protest nature of
WWI poetry through a consideration of the relationship between avant-garde
poetry and the First World War. Figures of interest include: Pessoa,
Lorca, Mayakovsky, Appolinaire, Cendrars, Rilke, Stein, Pound, Eliot,
Yeats, Ungaretti, Cavafy. Experimental prose writers such as Kafka and
Roussel will also be considered. Colonial avant-garde responses to the war
would also be of much interest, including Canadian, Australian, Indian,
South African, and in particular Scottish, Irish and Welsh writing.

We are looking for three papers for a panel, but the larger project would
be to form a collection of essays for challenging the predominantly British
domination of war poetry through a consideration of the European
Avant-Garde’s multifarious responses to the war. Please send a 300 word
abstract to Anurag Jain, a.c.jain_at_qmul.ac.uk. Deadline is September 29th

First biannual conference of the
European Network for Avant-Garde
and Modernism Studies
29-31 May 2008
Ghent University, Belgium
With initiatives in the cross-disciplinary fields of avant-garde and
modernism studies booming throughout European academia, time has come to
provide a more permanent platform in Europe for scholars to meet and
discuss their research. The European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism
Studies (EAM) will devote itself to the study of the avant-garde and
modernism in Europe within a global setting, throughout the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries. EAM will promote interdisciplinary and intermedial
research on experimental aesthetics and poetics, and aims to encourage an
interest in the cultural dimensions and contexts of the avant-garde and
modernism. The network aspires to embrace the wide variety within
avant-garde and modernism studies, and welcomes all scholars engaged in
these areas of research to participate in its first bi-annual conference.

Conference proposals and papers can be composed in English, French or
German. Other languages will only be considered for panel presentations.

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Received on Wed Sep 19 2007 - 06:18:51 EDT