Friday, April 30, 2010

Rethinking Poetics

[Here's the announcement for a pretty interesting-seeming conference at Columbia U. I say "pretty" interesting because it seems to me that the langpo/Buffalo/Bay Area crowd keep hosting all these conferences with themselves. Seriously, don't you guys think it would be more interesting to bring people of different persuasions to the table? Especially if you want to "rethink" poetics. The questions posed in this intro suggest a total lack of new ideas: "Materiality of signifer"? Are you kidding me? I'd be very interested in discussing poetics with several of these folks, but it seems you guys don't ever want outsiders to offer actually differing views. These perpetual conferences seem more like attempt to maintain a consensus. Seriously, folks. I know you love the community and its lineages and reproduction/futurity, but don't you get tired of this consensus-building? Don't even get me started about the cultural homogeneity of this. It makes me appreciate the "hybrid" model all over again. Talk me down, Ben Friedlander.]

Rethinking Poetics Conference

*Columbia University, NYC
June 11-13, 2010

Announcing the Columbia-Penn Poetics Initiative.

We are convening a three-day conference at Columbia (June 11-13, 2010),
"Rethinking Poetics." It is our sense that the practices of poetics are in
danger of becoming pro forma and that a focused, skeptical examination of
basic assumptions will be most useful. Terms continue to be used routinely
in circumstances that increasingly call for nuanced or even fundamental
change. What does "materiality of the signifier" mean in the era of data
mining or platform instability? What does "news" mean? How useful are
current periodizations? Such questions can be multiplied.

Given that new questions need to be raised and old certainties troubled, our
goal is to have a conference dedicated to articulating what most needs to be
rethought, what familiar formulations seem increasingly inadequate, what new
directions seem best to pursue.

In order to allow for time for substantial conversation, we are scheduling
no multiple panels and no plenaries; rather, there will be a series of
plenary-panels, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, with four or
five speakers each taking 10-12 minutes for themselves, leaving half the
session for more general discussion. There will be a panel chair to moderate
discussion, but there will be no introductions.

Participants will include Rachel Zolf, Rodrigo Toscano, Jennifer
Scappettone, Brent Hayes Edwards, Lytle Shaw, Juliana Spahr, Kenny
Goldsmith, Erica Hunt, Alan Golding, Monica de la Torre, Andrew Schelling,
Bruce Andrews, Michael Taussig, Joan Retallack, Rachel DuPlessis, K. Silem
Muhammad, Jena Osman, Craig Dworkin, Elizabeth Willis, Barrett Watten, Rob
Fitterman, Jonathan Skinner, Marjorie Perloff, Sherwin Bitsui, Mark Nowak,
Judith Goldman, C. S. Giscombe, Steve Evans, Stephanie Young, Lisa
Robertson, Paul Stephens, Rob Halpern, Jeff Dirksen, Ben Friedlander, Joshua
Clover, Michael Taussig, Astrid Lorange, James Livingston, Jeff Nealon,
Richard Doyle, Tan Lin, Tonya Foster, Matthew Hofer, John Melillo, Susan
Howe, and Charles Bernstein.

Conference costs for the 3-day conference are $50/university faculty,
$20/student & unaffiliated; $10 1-day entrance.


Blogger JP said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:23 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I completely agree…there’s something overly familiar about many of the aesthetic assumptions here…the “materiality of the signifier” could have come from around the time of Clinton’s first term…

12:29 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I've been bleating about this conference a bit on Facebook, mainly about the fact that 96% of the participants are academics. And, yeah, "materiality of the signifier" is actually earlier, like Jimmy Carter's first term.

The topics and the line-up seem very 70s-90s academia, for the most part. But, then again, perhaps I'm just clinging to "authentic time," rather than embracing its purported end.

8:01 AM  
Blogger françois said...

"Materiality of the signifier," that's indeed what French poets like Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud and Emmanuel Hocquard were also doing in the 1970s, but with a more Wittgensteinian slant. I'm more interested in how people as diverse as François Turcot, Vincent Tholomé, Christophe Tarkos, Chantal Neveu, Daniel Canty, Angela Carr, Rémi Froger and flarf are doing in "re-enchanting the word" (using John McDowell's expression).

6:54 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I've received a lot of backchanneling in response to this blog entry (much like when I write about U of Iowa interestingly)... So I think I'll write more about this to answer some of those concerns, but let me just say that there's nothing inherently out of touch about langpo, and there's nothing inherently bad about the academy (nobody needs to beat themselves up). It's when langpo starts obsessing about its own lineages, doing everything to maintain homogeneity that they get into trouble. Similarly, when the academy becomes orthodoxy and incapable of bringing in new ideas. That's when I get annoyed.


10:17 AM  

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