July 2017 ACLA Seminar on “World Poetics”


2017 American Comparative Literature Association

Co-organizers: Virginia Jackson (UC Irvine) and Yopie Prins (U Michigan)

Drift 25 (Room 001), University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Seminar Description

What is the place of “world poetry” within current debates about World Literature? Our 2017 ACLA seminar continues a conversation begun in the 2016 MLA panel sponsored by ACLA on “The Problem of ‘World Poetry’: Comparative Poetics and Comparative Publics” and the 2016 ACLA Presidential Panel on “Worlds of World Poetry.” Our goal is to explore the changing terms of past, present, and future work in comparative world poetics. What is the relation between comparative poetics and World Poetics? That question is at least in part historical, given the recent shifts within the discipline of Comparative Literature. While the adjective “comparative” suggests unequal parts, the adjective “world” suggests parts of a whole. Parts of what whole, or of what world? Debates about the unstable status of the idea of World Literature go double for the idea of World Poetry, since the history of the latter idea is directly connected to nineteenth-century universalism and to Goethe’s Weltliteratur. When we practice a “world poetics,” do we want to reclaim that nineteenth-century idealism, or do we want to take it apart? And what idea, or ideas, of “poetry” are we claiming in our comparative practice? The papers in this three-day seminar offer many different answers to these questions, drawing on various languages, theoretical approaches, historical perspectives, and critical paradigms.

Friday, July 7

“Worlds of World Poetry,” Yopie Prins, University of Michigan

“Landscapes of a Lyric Empire,” Fatima Burney, UCLA

“Comparative World Poetics: Gabriela Mistral and Mahadevi Varma,” Bhavya Tiwari, University of Houston

“Toward a Comparative Poetics,” Rachel Galvin, University of Chicago

Saturday, July 8

“The Institution of World Poetry,” Virginia Jackson, UC Irvine

“The Problem of Chinese Allegory Revisited,” Amanda Wang, University of Georgia

“World Poetry: Archaeology and Iterations of an Idea,” Harris Feinsod, Northwestern University

Sunday July 9

“National Meters and Global Rhythms,” Erin Kappeler, Missouri State University

“Kalevala Rhymes,” Maria Muresan, Ecole Normale Superieure (Centre Paul Celan)

“A Poetics of Pictographic Worlds,” Edgar Garcia, University of Chicago