Seminar: Rethinking Lyric Communities, Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (Chicago, March 16-19, 2023)
From the circulation of poetic forms across different languages and traditions around the globe, through the envisioning of national and transnational discursive communities, to the use of poetry in contemporary episodes of political resistance and its dissemination on social media, lyric poetry seems to be a privileged site for an inquiry into community formation and its politics. Various theoretical approaches cast poetry in this peculiar role, from French and French-oriented political philosophy (exemplified in the famous exchange between Maurice Blanchot and Jean-Luc Nancy begun in the 1980s) to the reevaluations — in reader-response criticism as well as in postcolonial and decolonial studies — of poetry’s roots in orality and performance.
The seminar aims to bring the investigation of historical poetic communities into dialogue with recent developments in the theory of the lyric and in theories of community. While discussing a variety of poetic phenomena in modern European poetry that have been at the center of the critical and philosophical debate — the poetics of the fragment, the unworking or désœuvrement of the work, the obscurity or polysemy of language, a change of aesthetic regime — the workshop will also explore the lyric, in its longer history and transnational features, as a particular discursive mode that may offer alternative models of community formation.
The seminar is the fourth instalment of a series of events with the same title: the workshops held at Christ Church (Oxford) on 23 June 2022 and at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry on 5 July 2022, and the panel at the congress of the European Society of Comparative Literature in Rome (5-9 September 2022).
Possible topics include:
- the direct exchange of poems
- sharing of poetic codes
- forms of collective writing
- individual or collective performance
- lyric poetry as a collective practice
- the construction of collective voices
- the practice of commentary for and within specific communities
- transhistorical and/or transnational poetic communities
- translation and community formation
- the use of poetry in episodes of political resistance
- the use of poetry on social media
- lyric poetry and human-nonhuman communities
- poetry and environmental awareness
The seminar sets out to explore the relationship between lyric poetry and community formation in both pre-modern and modern times. Paper proposals focusing on non-Western poetic traditions are particularly welcome.