The Dramatic I/Eye: Reflections on Voice and Form in Contemporary Poetry

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
The West Chester University Poetry Center
contact email: 

The West Chester University Poetry Center is pleased to announce this Call for Papers and Poems for our virtual poetry and pedagogy conference,The Dramatic I/Eye: Reflections on Voice and Form in Contemporary Poetry, to be held November 11-12, 2022. Early Twentieth Century African American poet Sterling Brown once said, “every I is a dramatic I.” How many times must we remind our students (and ourselves) not to confuse the speaker with the poet when they are analyzing poetry? How many times do we anticipate that a poet’s work will give voice to a particular subject position, identity,  experience, or way of seeing the world simply because we’ve read their bio sketch? What happens when the poet or the speaker pushes the bounds of our expectations? It’s one thing to consider issues of voice in relation to free verse, slam, or persona poetry. It is quite another to consider the intricacies of voice in relation to poetic form. As readers, we don’t anticipate fresh, exciting voices in traditional verse. Yet, most of the cutting-edge work in contemporary American poetry is emerging from the tension between voice and form. Our keynote speaker and featured reader is Alexis Sears, the 2021 Donald Justice Prizewinner for Out of Order, published in February 2022 by Autumn House Press.

            We invite teachers, scholars, and poets on all levels (primary, secondary, undergraduate, and post-graduate) to submit proposals for virtual presentations (creative and critical), workshops, lesson plans, roundtables, panels, and readings. We would welcome abstracts that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:


Identity and Voice                          

Voice and Form                                                                                                                                  

Teaching Performance

Poetry about Teaching

Approaches to Teaching Poetic Form

Poetry Workshops

Poet/Teacher Open Mic

Slam Poetics

Critical proposals should include a 200-400 word abstract along with a short CV (no more than 5 pages). Creative proposals should include 3-5 poems accompanied by a 150-word abstract and a short CV (no more than 5 pages). Please send proposals to with Voice in the subject line. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Cherise A. Pollard (