What is experimental about “experimental poetry”? In this lecture, Dr. Oren Izenberg will consider the relation between the idea of the experiment as it appears in some recent poetry and the idea of experiment that motivates the imaginative work of “thought experiments” in some recent philosophy. Oren Izenberg is an Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. In addition to being the author of Being Numerous: Poetry and the Ground of Social Life, he is also the recipient of an NEH Faculty Research Fellowship for a project titled “Lyric Poetry and the Philosophy of the Mind,” as well as a former fellow with the Franke Institute for the Humanities here at the University of Chicago.
Poet Benjamin Friedlander delivers a talk engaging with the concepts and practices of contemporary poetry. Friedlander is the author of Simulcast: Four Experiments in Criticism, and the editor, most recently, of Robert Creeley’s Selected Poems, 1945–2000. He teaches American literature and poetics at the University of Maine.
Poet Benjamin Friedlander reads from his latest works. Friedlander is the author of the poetry collections One Hundred Etudes, Citizen Cain, The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes, and A Knot is Not a Tangle. Robert Creeley said of him, “Friedlander speaks with a survivor’s humor and ungainsayable clarity of what we had thought to forget.”
Recipient of the 2015 Ron Offen Poetry Prize, Daniel Borzutzky reads from his latest works, In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy and Bedtime Stories for the End of the World. Borzutzky’s poetry translations include books by Chilean poets Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. His work has been recognized by grants from the PEN, the NEA, and the Illinois Arts Council.
Lisa Samuels was born in Boston and raised in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Her work focuses in transculturalism, ethics, violence, the body, and imaginative knowing. Her nine books include Gender City (2011), Wild Dialectics (2012), and Anti M (2013), and she has also published poetry chapbooks, CDs, and essays on writing and critical practice. Forthcoming work includes her experimental novel Tender Girl (Dusie Press) and an essay on innovative poetry (Tinfish Press), and current projects include collaborations with film-maker Wes Tank and with composer Frédéric Pattar. Lisa teaches writing, theory, and experimental literatures at the University of Auckland in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the first country in the world to accord voting rights to women.
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs reads from her poetry collection, TwERK. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Jubilat, Fence, LA Review, Palabra, and Black Renaissance Noir. Together with Greg Tate, Diggs is the co-founder and editor of the magazine yoYo/SO4. She has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Millay Colony, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Laundromat Project. She lives in Harlem.
Wave Power: The Effacement of the Caesura in Dylan Thomas's Poetry
October 2014 marks the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas, a poet remarkable at once for obscurity and popularity. This lecture argues that in his poetry Thomas seeks to efface what Freud termed the caesura of birth, to collapse temporality and thus efface the caesura of death, and to erase the prosodic caesura through use of syllabics.
John Wilkinson is Associate Chair for Creative Writing and Poetics in the Department of English at the University of Chicago.
The recipient of a 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Peter Cole has published four books of poetry, most recently, The Invention of Influence (New Directions, 2014). He has also translated widely from medieval and modern Hebrew and Arabic poetry, including The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (Yale University Press).
Susan Wheeler is the author of several books of poetry, including Bag 'o' Diamonds, which was chosen by James Tate to receive the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her other collections are Smokes, Source Codes, Ledger, and Assorted Poems. Wheeler's awards include the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches at Princeton University, where she is director of its Program in Creative Writing. Wheeler is the 2013-14 Pearl Anderson Sherry Poet-in-Residence.
I speculate that one reason for the demise of aesthetic attitudes toward literary experience is the lack of any workable secular theory of imagination. The New Critics tried to provide one, but that proved too theological or romantic in orientation and too much adapted to the object rather than to a mode of activity. So I borrow categories from John Casey's A Phenomenology of Imagination and test their relevance to what seem the models of production basic to Ashbery's "Instruction Manual," and then, in an effort to expand the range of this phenomenological approach, to Yeats's "Leda and the Swan." I worry about models of production because I think one can limit an aesthetic interest in imagination to speech situations where one speaks "imaginatively" or "with imagination." Professor Charles Altieri is the Rachel Stageberg Anderson Chair in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.