Love and Loss in Modernist Poetry (NEMLA, Toronto, April 30-May 3, 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
Northeastern Modern Language Association
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While poetry itself has played a historically long and significant role in the discourse of love, the period of modernity seems to be largely associated with its opposites. As the standard narrative goes, citizens the world over felt overwhelmed and frightened by the sundry and rapid changes – literal, conceptual, moral, and beyond – brought about by industrialization, scientific developments, WWI, etc. And the poetry that characterizes this time period represents and reflects on some of the more devastating changes. But what happens to poetic love in the early 20th century? What specifically happens when love, loss, and poetry come together during such a fraught time?

This panel seeks to address the legacy and significance of love poetry as it moves beyond the period of sentimental literature and into the period of modernity. Special attention will be paid to the poetry of love and loss, as Modernists speak both to seemingly timeless conceptions of romantic affection and to the sense of disorientation that has come in the minds of many literary scholars to characterize their historical moment.

Note: This year, applicants will be submitting their abstracts directly to the NEMLA site (, so please allow time to familiarize yourself with the new format.

Please submit abstracts for 20-minute presentations by September 30, 2014, and feel welcome to contact Ellen McWhorter ( with any questions.