How Poems Work

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University of California, Santa Cruz

Graduate Student Conference: "How Poems Work"
University of California, Santa Cruz
(Co-sponsored by Cowell College and the Department of Literature)
May 6-7, 2010

We invite 250-word proposals for 15-minute talks to be presented at our upcoming UCSC graduate-student conference, "How Poems Work." Deadline for submissions is February 26.

This conference begins with the hunch that at some point in most of our careers as students and teachers of literature we've found or been found by a poem that has deeply affected us, and that this poem has remained a productive site of thought, feeling, study, and teaching. Returning to that site, what do you think makes the poem work so well? What kind of field, event, or encounter does the poem create?

We invite you to choose your favorite poem from any era, or a poem central to your current research, and explain how it works, in any of a number of possible senses (rhetorical, philosophical, linguistic, musical, affective, material).

Poetry has important work to do, and distinctive ways of operating. We want to bring together a variety of papers that are each grounded in close analysis of a poem and see what happens. How can a poem function as a site of transformation and generate new ways of thinking?

All papers concerned with poetry are welcomed; some possible emphases may include:

- Close reading revisited
- The "new" lyric studies
- Environmental poetics
- Poetry and pedagogy
- Poetry as work, play, non-work, excess
- Affective and emotional workings of poetry
- Poetry and technology, or poetry as "knowledge work"

Keynote talk will be given by Professor Timothy Morton (English, UC Davis), author of _The Ecological Thought_ (2010) and _Ecology Without Nature_ (2007).