The Poetics of Space

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

The 2023 NeMLA conference will take place on March 23 - 26, 2023 in Niagara Falls, New York. Abstracts can be submitted at the link below.


In 1958, Gaston Bachelard published his groundbreaking philosophy of the imagination, The Poetics of Space, which explores the intimate spaces that shelter our imaginations, including the nest, the shell, chests and drawers, nooks and corners, and most importantly, the house. For Bachelard, our houses “are in us as much as we are in them.” Our childhood homes protect our imaginations. Within those shelters, children experience the solitude and boredom that teaches them to daydream, and in Bachelard’s argument, daydreams manifest themselves in poetry. Through a topoanalytical investigation of the house, Bachelard sought to understand what happens when a poetic image—a sudden concentration of the poet’s psyche—emerges in the mind, and how that concentration takes root in the mind of the reader. As such, The Poetics of Space reveals as much about poetic imagery as it does about domestic space.

Since 2020, our relationships to domestic space have become more intimate and urgent than ever. Houses, and their non-human antecedents, the shell and the nest, are the “limits that protect.” They create the intimate spaces that mix memory and daydream. Pandemic-era poetry and prose might well reflect our productive relationships to our homes. We envision this as a craft panel, in which contemporary writers will discuss Bachelard’s influence on their work. Using Bachelard as a lens, they will explore the resonance of domestic space on their poetic imagination.

We are seeking creative writers who have been influenced by Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space in their poetry and creative prose. In this craft-focused panel, we are interested in how domestic space resonates in your creative imagination. How has Bachelard influenced your engagement with space, and inversely, how has your creative work opened your reading of Bachelard’s philosophy?

NeMLA 2023:

Abstract Submission: