Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Heading to Texas: P&PC at MLA's Annual Convention

The good news is that, after five months of being based at the Library of Congress in the nation's capital, P&PC has finally and safely returned to its home office in Salem, Oregon. It's good to be home, and we're pretty exhausted, but as fortune would have it, we're promptly flying out later this week to attend and take part in the Modern Language Association's annual convention, being held this year in Austin, Texas. Here's what's on the docket:
Session 635: Poetry and Its Public(s)
Saturday, 9 January, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Room 9A of the Austin Convention Center

Presiding: Alan Golding, University of Louisville

Speakers: Stephen Burt, Harvard University; Mike Chasar, Willamette University; Evie Shockley, Rutgers University, New Brunswick; Timothy Yu, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Session Description: Panelists address the public(s) for poetry, past, present, and future, as a cultural category and a human activity. We imagine a discussion in which we think about media, reception, audience, commentary, translation, and adaptation—and more—as ways of connecting to a public. How is our work as poets, teachers, historians, editors, and critics a public act?
As you can imagine, we're pretty stoked to be in such distinguished company, and so we spent a good portion of our cross-country road trip home thinking about what we might contribute and running ideas past the P&PC Office cats, both of whom were crated in the back seat of the car and thus convenient if not entirely voluntary sounding boards. And as of this morning we've finally got something of a rough draft worked up—a five point list of suggestions for how poetry studies can better (re)position itself to more thoroughly understand, account for, and engage the wide range of poetry's publics. P&PC faithful, never fear: we believe there will be at least one Rod McKuen reference. If all goes well, we'll post our remarks in these very pages at some point after the conference—so stay tuned!