[UPDATE] Mid-20th-Century American Poetry and the Question of Beauty, ALA Boston, 12/12/14; 5/20-24/15
"Rigor of beauty is the quest," writes Williams in his preface to "Paterson." "But how will you find beauty when it is locked in the mind past all remonstrance?" For the 2015 ALA conference in Boston (May 20-24), the Charles Olson Society invites proposals on beauty and mid-twentieth-century American poetry. Although the 1950s are perhaps best known for the rise of the Beats, the Confessionals, and the Black Mountain poets, these were also the years of Adrienne Rich's early formalist work ("Aunt Jennifer's Tigers"), as well as some of the best work of Richard Wilbur, Theodore Roethke, and other strong poets working with traditional forms. Amid such very different types of poetry, the question of beauty or aesthetic engagement may become a site of contention. Were poets like Olson or Sexton rejecting the beautiful in favor of the authentic, or the genuine, or the audacious? Does beauty remain a primary criterion for poetry in this period, or is it displaced by other criteria? How were poets at this time re-imagining the beautiful? Papers may focus on individual poets or poems, or on mid-century American poetry more broadly. Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to G. Grieve-Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 12, 2014. Please include your name, institutional affiliation (if any), and e-mail address.