"Remeasuring Lyrical Pain" -- Seminar CFP -- ACLA Annual Meeting, Cambridge, MA, March 17–20, 2016

full name / name of organization: 
Jessica Tabak / Brown University
contact email: 

In recent scholarship, lyric emerges as a privileged form for expressing, simulating, and circulating pain: its formal flexibility, non-narrative structure, and somatic elements allow lyric to evoke an embodied sensation whose "resistance to language," as Elaine Scarry memorably argues, "is essential to what it is." Yet these characteristics do not adhere neatly to lyric. Not all lyrics are formally free and non-narrative. Furthermore, various literary genres employ the formal invention, non-narrative digressions, and somatic elements most often identified with the lyric form.

With this in mind, this seminar seeks papers that augment and complicate the understanding of the lyric as a uniquely fit vehicle for pained expression. Possible inquiries include: How might prescribed lyric forms obfuscate or enable painful expression? How might narrative gestures within lyrics enhance their capacity to express suffering? And how might other literary genres — including drama, the novel, and experimental prose poetry — employ otherwise "lyrical" elements to create their own modes of expressing pain?

A note on ACLA's paper proposal policy: ACLA's paper submission portal opens on September 1 and closes September 23. Scholars interested in submitting a paper are encouraged to contact organizers prior to this period. If you are considering submitting a paper to this panel, please contact Jessica Tabak at Jessica_Tabak@brown.edu and Matthew Beach at Matthew_Beach@brown.edu