CFP: [Poetry] Reading Duncan Reading: Essays on the Poetics of Derivation (01/31/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Graham Lyons
contact email: 

(Edited by Stephen Collis & Graham Lyons)
“No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His
significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the
dead poets and artists”
 -T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
“I draw my ‘own’ thought in reading Dante as from a well-spring.”
  -Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan’s penchant for referring to himself as a ‘derivative” poet is
well documented if not notoriousâ€"and the extent of his poetic derivations
is readily apparent in his published works, where poem after poem enters
into dialogue with a wide array of precursors and companions, great and
small. Far from a Bloomian striving against received tradition, however,
Duncan’s derivations function simultaneously as poetics, as literary
criticism, as self-reflection, indeed as reading. Whether read as a matter
of influence, homage, or appropriation, Duncan’s poetics is clearly
situated on a blurred line between the processes of reading and writingâ€"a
space where (self) expression and derivation (from others) blend so that
the poet’s “own” thought is, in practice, difficult to discern from the
poet’s sources in “others” writing. What are the implications of this
difficulty, this ambiguity? What possibilities issue from Duncan’s stance
as at once reader and poet? How might Duncan’s derivations open out to a
politics? An ethics?
READING DUNCAN READING will gather essays addressing both Duncan’s
derivations from the work of other writers (the uses he makes of his
sources), and derivations from Duncan’s work (the work of writers who have
themselves drawn upon Duncan’s “well-spring”). The list of the former could
include (but is certainly not limited to): Charles Baudelaire, William
Blake, Robin Blaser, Paul Celan, Jean Cocteau, T. S. Eliot, Dante,
Sigmund Freud, Thom Gunn, George Herbert, H.D., James Joyce, Denise
Levertov, George MacDonald, Gerard de Nerval, Charles Olson, Edith Sitwell,
Jack Spicer, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and
Louis Zukofsky. The list of those writers whose work may in some ways be
read as flowing from Duncan’s could include: Robin Blaser, Michael
Davidson, Peter Gizzi, Susan Howe, Lisa Jarnot, Ronald Johnson, Robert
Kelley, Michael Palmer, Peter O’Leary, and John Tranter, amongst others.
Abstracts of 250-500 words with contact information should be sent to
Stephen Collis ( by no later than January 31st 2008.

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Received on Mon Oct 29 2007 - 19:25:43 EST