Narrative in Contemporary Poetry (9/30/09; NeMLA, Montreal, 4/7/10-4/11/10)

full name / name of organization: 
Barbara Fischer/NeMLA
contact email: 

Northeast Modern Language Association Convention
April 7-11, 2010

Rethinking Narrative in Contemporary Poetry

In recent years, avant-garde critiques of lyric-narrative poetic forms have tended to cast the term "narrative" in a pejorative light, associated in various ways with confessionalism and conservative formalism. Yet narrative remains, in myriad guises, at the heart of many contemporary poetic practices across the spectrum. This panel seeks inquiries into where and how narrative is important in contemporary poetry. What kinds of stories are contemporary poets choosing to tell in verse, and what forms are they employing to do so? How do narrative strategies in recent poetry work within, alongside, and against other practices, including parataxis and anti-closural logics? Is contemporary narrative poetry innovative, reactionary, politically charged, meditative, character-driven, collaborative, historical, revisionary? Topics might include but are not limited to contemporary narrative poetry and its precursors, the narrative after Language writing, applications of narrative theory to contemporary poetics, and narrative formalism. Of particular interest are studies of narrative and interpretive dynamism in hybrid genres—prose poems, lyrical prose, the verse novel, hypertext and interactive poetic narratives.

Email a 1-2 page abstract and a brief bio to Barbara Fischer, PhD,