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"Objectivist" Versions and Variations (MSA 19, Amsterdam)

The literary historical narrative of the "Objectivist" writers can itself be said to have several versions and variations. As Louis Zukofsky explains in An "Objectivists" Anthology (1932), "The interest in the [1931 Poetry magazine] issue was in the few recent lines of poetry which could be found, and in the craft of poetry, NOT in a movement. The contributors did not get up one morning all over the land and say 'objectivists' between tooth-brushes." The group was one of affiliation, with manifold connections between "members" who spanned countries and modernist moments; one could say that "Objectivism" is itself a term that suggests an aesthetic of versions and variations.

This aesthetic--of proliferating alternatives and polyvocal scope--characterizing the loose group as a whole can also be seen in individual texts, such as Lorine Niedecker’s New Goose poems, Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony, and many others. Zukofsky’s distinction between "craft" and "movement" emphasizes the practice of writing poetry, and will anchor this panel's exploration of versions and variations. From prioritizations of form to considerations of musicality, the "Objectivists" engage with the idea of versions and variations as both components of poetic practice and thematic material. How does the era's investment in seriality draw other poets into the "Objectivist" sphere? How might forms using the idea of variation be seen as "Objectivist?" Proposals might touch upon "Objectivist": play, musical and non-; drafts and archival materials; publication histories; sustained and serial works; relationships and collaborations; rewritings.

Please send a proposal of no more than 250 words and a brief biography to sanderson@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn by January 12, 2017.


Conference Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Conference Starts: August 10, 2017
Conference Ends: August 13, 2017

CFP Submission Deadline: January 25, 2017

For more information, contact: Stephanie Anderson

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