EXTENDED DEADLINE: Nature’s Protest and Dismantling of Society in 20th Century American Activist Poets

deadline for submissions: 
December 5, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Elizabeth Chapman
contact email: 

Nature’s Protest and Dismantling of Society in 20th Century American Activist Poets

Conference: Southeastern Women’s Studies Association 2020

Location: University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Dates: March 26th -28th


The truth in Audre Lorde’s words “poetry is not a luxury but a vital necessity” is evident in marginalized poets that span the 20th century. Angelina Weld Grimké, Adrienne Rich, and Audre Lorde. Grimké often used the image of trees to portray a dismantling of racial inequality and bring awareness to lynching. Adrienne Rich used the image of a diver immersing herself in the dark depths of the ocean to represent women experiencing patriarchal oppression. Audre Lorde used the image of coal to assert her identity and transform blackness into a jewel.

 Without their poetry we would not see the counter-narratives to the status quo of straight white male poets who still tend to dominate the discussion in the poetry classroom. One theme that these poets have used to show their views and critiques of society is the usage of nature. Poets who are of different ethnicity or race, a different gender or sexual orientation, or of the working class have connected to nature to dismantle patriarchal structures.


We seek papers that focus on nature as a force of change or destruction within works of poets from 20th-Century America. Please submit a 100-200 word abstract and 50-word bio to Elizabeth Chapman at chapmanea@etsu.edu by Dec. 5th. Applicants will be notified before the December 6th deadline with a copy of the final proposal.

For further information on the conference visit the SEWSA website http://www.sewsa.net/2020-south-florida.