Locating "Poetry of Resistance": Poetry and the Politics of Space

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association Convention (4/12-15/18)
contact email: 


This panel examines the relationship between the contemporary poetry community’s call for “poetry of resistance” and the particular locations or spaces that such poems represent. Papers may examine how particular locations or spaces define the language of resistance or how poetic resistance defines particular locations or spaces. How is resistance defined locally, globally, geographically, environmentally, or personally in poetry? And how does poetry define the relationship between resistance and location?

Send 250-300 word abstracts to Kirsten Ortega at kortega@uccs.edu by September 30, 2017.



The 2018 Northeast Modern Language Association's convention theme is: "Global Spaces, Local Landscapes and Imagined Worlds." This panel bring that theme together with the call among poets for "poetry of resistance."

As Trump began his presidency in January 2017, calls for “poetry of resistance” flooded American literary sites like Submittable’s weekly Submishmash and the NewPages.com classifieds. Journals dedicated issues to the theme of “resistance” (Snapdragon, The Review Review), literary sites published lists of “poems of resistance” (bookriot.com, poetryfoundation.org), and presses announced forthcoming anthologies about “poems of resistance” (Sixteen Rivers Press, Fathom Books’s Pyramids Rose Out of Our Pain). It appears that the phrase “poetry of resistance” has replaced “political poetry” in an attempt to eschew the lack of formal and intellectual rigor associated with “protest poetry.” As the lists of “poems of resistance” indicate (many of which were deemed “political poetry” when published), there have always been American poets who responded to the political moments in which they lived. Some poets, like Adrienne Rich, have defined their poetic innovations around resistance. In Poetry and Commitment, Rich explains that poets are obliged to commit to “dissident poetry” as defined by James Scully: “It is a poetry that talks back, that would act as part of the world, not simply as a mirror of it” (14). But Rich’s dissident poetry of commitment and resistance has a particular location: her white, American, lesbian body, as well as particular geographic and spatial locations. In “Notes Toward a Politics of Location,” Rich investigates the ways her body, as the location of her identity, informs her work. Today, poets of the Black Lives Matter movement examine the “locations” of their bodies both in a post-identity politics world and within particular geographic spaces in order to resist violence.

This panel calls for papers that pick up the contemporary poetry community’s call for “poetry of resistance” by investigating how such poems respond to particular “locations,” be they identity locations or locations in particular geographic spaces. How is resistance defined locally in such poems? How is it defined globally? Environmentally or geographically? How does poetry define the relationship between resistance and location?

Send 250-300 word abstracts to Kirsten Ortega at kortega@uccs.edu.