[CFP] Poets and Poetry workshop – SAES – 2-4 June 2022, Clermont-Ferrand, FRANCE
The annual SAES congress will be held in Clermont-Ferrand on 2-4 June 2022. The theme is “Fault-Line” and the description is available here.
Claire Hélie and Adrian Grafe, the Poets and Poetry workshop moderators, are receiving abstracts until December 5. Here is food for thought for proposals!
Surely fault-lines and fractures lie at the heart of much poetry. The following brief description breaks down the theme (no pun intended) into five broad categories: formal, historical, critical, geographical and emotional. There are many more.
Formal. Perhaps the biggest textual fault-line of all is that between poetry and prose. What is the difference between the two, and do poets agree on it? Poetry as a specific genre involves the technical ruptures which so often create its form: stanza, section, caesura, and line-break: “if I don’t want the line to be broken, I break it in an inappropriate place, forcing the reader to go on, as if there were no break” (Hugo Williams). One also thinks of the poetic fragment and fragmentation: from the Romantic fragment (“Kubla Khan”), to fractal verse, to Paul Muldoon’s poems being fragments of his whole oeuvre. Even more broadly, there is the page/stage dichotomy: what is the faultline between oral/performed poetry and poetry on the page?
Historical. The major fault-line in English-language poetry has been the one between metre and free verse: “free verse broke the pentameter” (Alice Fulton). Is free verse truly unmetrical? Why does it break the line where it does? Moreover, the Modernist revolution turned its back on Romantic subjectivity while looking to the dramatic monologue (“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”), Anglo-Saxon poetry, the Metaphysical poets, and European sources. In turn, the Movement poets (Gunn, Wain, Jennings, Larkin) refuted the cosmopolitanism of Modernism. Poetry is also susceptible to be crossed by what Fran Breaton, with particular reference to Heaney, calls “the fault lines of history”. Heaney himself wrote: “What distinguishes the good poet is the ability to trace these tensions home through the fault lines of his or her own sensibility”. What are “the fault-lines that have shaped the golden age of Ulster poetry” (Mark Ford)? Ford mentions Heaney and his volume North (1975), as well as Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon, Tom Paulin and Ciaran Carson.
Critical. The debate that comes most readily to mind is between those who dislike what they call “scientism and theoreticity” (Christopher Ricks), and those who, like Ricks himself, prefer empirical engagement with the poetic text itself, as opposed to the importation of theory or philosophy exploited as a grille de lecture? Witness also the current debate as to whether so-called instapoetry is in fact poetry at all.
Geographical/regional. Does dialect poetry speak only to those who speak and understand that dialect? Or does non-standard poetry seek integration into the poetic mainstream (if there ever was such a thing)? See the work of William Barnes, who crossed the dialect/standard English divide by “translating” some of his poems from the former into the latter. How does poetry reveal, and deal with, the “North-South divide” in England? How do poets foster the idea that their non-standard language has as much or even greater prestige and poetic value than the standard language? How do poets move beyond this idea of a faultline between the standard language and their poetic use of languages? How do they bridge the gaps to create meeting points between different linguistic and poetic traditions?
Emotional. Vicki Feaver’s poem “The Crack” takes the crack in the wall of a house, which grows wider and wider, as a metaphor for the impending separation between the speaker and the latter’s partner. Broader themes are also possible such as belonging and alienation.
These categories are anything but exclusive. Hence, we welcome paper proposals on any topic and from any critical vantage-point in line with the conference theme. Please send 200-word abstracts to Adrian Grafe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Claire Hélie (email@example.com) by December 5th 2021.