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Graphing the Self: Modern Poetry and Portraiture

From Gertrude Stein's portrait poems, to TS Eliot's and William Carlos Williams' own "Portrait(s) of a Lady," the idea of portraiture captivated the imagination of many modernist poets. This sensibility extended into postmodern verse as well, as writers like Frank O’Hara ("Self-Portrait with Masks") and, most famously, John Ashbery ("Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror") ultimately turned the mirror on themselves. Tracing the tradition of poetic portraits back to 19th century verse, Frances Dickey argues in "The Modern Portrait Poem From Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Ezra Pound" that the genre "investigates a variety of possibilities about the self, whether viewing persons as discrete and thing-like or exploring the way that selves blend and intersect."

Building on Dickey's premise, this panel aims to explore the wide “variety of possibilities about the self€ that modern and postmodern self/portrait poems articulate or, indeed, 'graph.' How do these poems orient, disorient, or reorient idea of the self or subjectivity? What verbal and/or visual processes do they utilize?

Possible lines of inquiry include but are not limited to:

1. the self/portrait poem & race, gender, and sexuality

2. the self/portrait poem & theories of the lyric

3. the self/portrait poem & contemporary (post-1975) poetry

4. the self/portrait poem & the visual arts tradition

5. the self/portrait poem & serial forms

6. the self/portrait poem & historical/political events

7. the self/portrait poem & transnationalism

Please send a 300-word abstract, short bio, and A/V needs to Alexandra Gold, agold25@bu.edu, by March 30th.


Conference Location: Columbus, OH, USA
Conference Starts: November 08, 2018
Conference Ends: November 11, 2018

CFP Submission Deadline: March 30, 2018

For more information, contact: Alexandra Gold

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