CFP: [Collections] Special Issue of "Life Writing" on Poetry and Autobiography

full name / name of organization: 
Jo Gill
contact email: 


A special issue of Life Writing (volume 6, number 1 - April 2009)

Edited by Jo Gill, University of Exeter and Mel Waters, University of

Submissions of articles (8000 words max) and shorter reflections (up to
2000 words) are invited for a special issue of the journal Life Writing
on the theme of ‘Poetry and Autobiography’.

This special issue will examine some of the assumptions about, and
crossovers between, the discrete disciplines of life writing and poetry.
While poetry, as a genre which is persistently exercised by questions
about language, form, subjectivity, authority, truth, and reference,
shares much common ground with life writing, the relationship between the
two genres is rarely interrogated. In addition, so-called ‘personal’
poetry is infrequently read with an attentiveness to the kinds of
questions about authenticity and representation with which prose life
writing is often (and productively) met.

Contributions to this special issue of Life Writing will ask what, if
anything, is distinctive about autobiographical poetry; what are the
conventions and practices which attach to the form and shape the ways in
which it is read? What does it demand of its practitioners and what does
it offer to its readers? How useful are current theories of life writing â€"
 predicated as they often are on a study of prose narrative â€" to the
study of the poetic text? How, if at all, might scholars of poetry and
autobiography begin to bridge the gaps that separate the two disciplines
in existing critical discourses? Is it necessary to rethink dominant
interpretative frameworks in the light of the insights offered by poetry?

We invite papers which consider the complicated relationship between the
two genres, and which address the hypothesis that poetry might have
something valid to contribute to the theory and practice of life writing.
Likewise, we are keen to see scholarship that asks how theories of life
writing might help to expose and understand the complexity of the
poetic ‘I’.
In common with the Aims and Scope of the journal, we are interested in
work that incorporates an interdisciplinary perspective and we welcome
submissions which broaden the geographical focus of life writing beyond
the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

Work submitted to the Articles section should follow the journal’s usual
style guidelines (see Work submitted to
the Reflections section carries critically informed personal narrative
linking theory and experience; on this occasion, the journal is happy to
consider poetry in this section. Items in both sections must be original
and unpublished. All submissions undergo an anonymous peer-review

Initial enquiries may be addressed to or Please submit completed articles by e-mail
attachment to both of the above addresses, or by post to:

Dr Jo Gill, Department of English, University of Exeter, Queen’s
Building, Queen’s Drive, Exeter, EX4 4QH, UK
Mel Waters, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Percy
Building, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle, NE1 7RU, UK.
Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2008.

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Received on Thu Sep 27 2007 - 17:08:20 EDT