Roundtable: Reconstruction Poetry Now (C19 2022)

deadline for submissions: 
September 13, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Caroline Gelmi/C19 2022
contact email: 

Roundtable: Reconstruction Poetry Now

C19 Seventh Biennial Conference: Reconstructions

3/31/22-4/2/22, Coral Gables, FL

Organizer: Caroline Gelmi, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

This proposed roundtable invites discussion of the burgeoning category of Reconstruction poetry in the wake of scholarship by critics such as Monique-Adelle Callahan, Elizabeth Renker, and Timothy Sweet. In 2018's "What is 'Reconstruction Poetry'?"Renker argued that "now is the time to excavate" this category "and to institutionalize it as such in our disciplinary frameworks" (508). In the spirit of Renker's kairotic appeal, this roundtable seeks to examine what Reconstruction poetry is now and what we should be doing with it. What can we learn from what has (or has not) been excavated and institutionalized? What new questions and disruptions have been or might be generated by sustained attention to this category? How do recent approaches to nineteenth-century poetry and poetics impact the ways we read Reconstruction poems and think about Reconstruction poetics? If 2018 was the right time to turn to Reconstruction poetry, is 2021 (or will 2022 be) an even more right time? What might come of viewing contemporary poetries in conversation with poetries of Reconstruction? How do current discourses on the social and political relevance of Reconstruction to our own moment affect our thinking about this category, and how might Reconstruction poetry enhance or complicate these discourses of relevance?

Participants will give short presentations of roughly 5-7-minutes that can take the form of provocations, case studies, methodological interventions, thought experiments, show-and-tells, etc. Please send a 250-word abstract and brief bio to Caroline Gelmi ( by Monday September 13, 2021.