The Book as Lyric Medium: &NOW Conference 2019
I am moderating this panel for the &NOW Conference; the panel has been accepted and I am looking for participants.
The Book As Lyric Medium: A Panel for the &NOW Conference, Oct 5-7, 2019
In “Experiment as a Claim of the Book: Twenty Different Fruits on One Different Tree,” from his 2004 monograph Syncopations: The Stress of Innovation in Contemporary American Poetry, Jed Rasula argues that “the vast bulk of poetry fails to take up the challenge of the book as medium.” He then celebrates some feminist pioneers of the book-length experiment—Kimiko Hahn, Ann Lauterbach, Ann Carson, Lyn Hejinian, Joan Retallack, Harryette Mullen and fourteen others—for the political and aesthetic implications of their work in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The ambition of this reading and panel is to expand that field to include women poets working from other traditions, to widen the scope of what’s at stake when a woman poet embarks on a long-form project, and to explore the book-length poem as an important form of literary and social activism. My ambition is that an international panel of female poets will talk about taking on the challenge of the book as lyric medium in the twenty-first century. After reading from their own book-length projects, panelists will address questions like: what provocations and urgencies are suited to the book-length sequence and what techniques are necessary to sustain a long-form project? What’s at stake, personally, politically and aesthetically? What do we gain by compounding the method of the lyric with the narrative structure of the book? How does the long-form poem redefine notions of story and story-teller? I imagine ten-minute readings by five authors, followed by fifteen minutes of moderated conversation and ten minutes of general Q&A.