CFP: Formal Progress? American Poetry 1890-1933; NeMLA, 4/7-4/11/2010, Montreal; Deadline: 9/30/09

full name / name of organization: 
Erin Kappeler, Tufts University
contact email: 

41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 7-11, 2010
Montreal, Quebec - Hilton Bonaventure

Session: Formal Progress? American Poetry 1890-1933

American poetry at the turn of the twentieth century found itself in a deplorably enervated state; genteel poets, sad poetesses, and other backwards-looking Victorian writers ruled the scene. Or so goes one version of modernist myth-making, which continues to dominate our critical discussions of early twentieth century American poetry. This panel seeks to explore what this narrative of stagnation and innovation leaves out. Does progressive metrical experimentation necessarily entail revolutionary social possibilities, as theorists of avant-garde poetry such as Marjorie Perloff, Charles Altieri, and Charles Bernstein often imply? Were George Santayana, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Sara Teasdale truly as Victorian or as backwards-looking as Ezra Pound and other high modernists made them out to be? Why are the formal experiments of Pound and T.S. Eliot lauded while those of Stephen Crane, Vachel Lindsay, and Amy Lowell remain largely unexplored? By attending to these often overlooked writers and their use of poetic forms, this panel addresses crucial gaps in many literary histories of twentieth century American poetry and poetics. Such an approach disrupts the teleological view of American poetry in which all works written before 1922 become prolegomena to the ultimate modernist poem, The Waste Land.

Please send abstracts of 250-500 words to Erin Kappeler,

Deadline: September 30, 2009

Please include with your abstract:

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The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June:

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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