"The Art of Losing": Loss in Literature and Film (NeMLA Panel, Niagara Falls, March 2023)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

“The Art of Losing”: Loss in Literature and Film

Panel Session, NeMLA’s 54th Annual Convention in Niagara Falls, March 23-26


In her iconic poem “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop writes of “the art of losing.” The poem’s speaker first recounts the loss of small things such as “lost door keys” and “an hour badly spent”; then, the losses grow in import: “my mother’s watch,” “three loved houses,” “two cities,” “two rivers, a continent,” and finally, “even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love).”


Loss, from the inconvenient and forgettable to the devastating and permanent, is an inevitable constant in life and, therefore, in literature. This panel will explore the effects, degrees, and responses to loss in literature and film.


Papers may reflect on the concept of loss in the following suggested ideas:


Community, sense of self, identity

Dreams, ambitions, goals

Time, opportunity

Memory, health

Materials, objects

Money, home, economic stability (personal and/or societal)

Innocence, dignity, reputation

People (to death, to distance, to dissolution of relationship)

“Getting lost” in an activity, or “getting lost” in terms of location, identity, purpose

Denial of loss

Formations or gains that occur in the space left by the lost person, idea, contest, or object

Papers exploring literature, film, cultural studies, or other media are invited.


Abstracts are accepted from June 7 through September 30, 2022. Please submit a 300-word abstract by September 30 to NeMLA’s online portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP


The session number is #19893.


For information on NeMLA’s guidelines for abstracts: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers.html


Questions can be emailed to LoNewco1@wsc.edu