CALL FOR PAPERS (extended deadline)
“Before and after Beat exploded: Essential studies on ruth weiss.”
ruth weiss has worked for almost seven decades – and at 88 continues to work – with a plurality of artistic forms: she has authored around twenty poetry books, performed and recorded Jazz & Poetry, written more than ten plays, exhibited her water-color haiku paintings, acted in films and even written and directed one. As such, weiss embodies the artistic confluence of the 1950s and 1960s bohemia, breaking down, as Randy Roark writes, “the barriers between word, film, song, painting, and theatre”. Despite her extensive poetry career and very active participation in the West Coast buzzing artistic community since the early 1950s, weiss has remained an essentially overlooked figure in poetry history. This neglect might be representative – or shall we say a consequence – of the overshadowing of female artists within the Beat Generation as “a marginalized group within an always already marginalized bohemia” (Ronna C. Johnson).
Following her re-discovery in the course of Brenda Knight’s Women of the Beat Generation (1996), weiss’s work has benefitted from a boost in Beat-related academic and cultural activities in the last decades. Nevertheless, twenty years after the publication of Knight’s groundbreaking anthology, and despite the rekindled interest in the movement in general and in the work of women in particular, the Beat Generation academic niche is still lacking in terms of monographs and individual studies dealing with the work of female poets. Our book taps directly into this lacuna by providing up-to-date, comprehensive, critical analyses around one of the most prolific members of the so-called “Beat women”: ruth weiss.
The collection of essays aims to include studies on all areas of weiss’s body of work – poetry, film, theater, performance or painting – as well as contrastive or comparative studies between ruth weiss’s poetics and aesthetics and that of other poets and artists, both inside and outside the scope of the Beat Generation. In order to respond to the existing cross-pollination between art forms in weiss’s oeuvre, this collection maintains a multidisciplinary approach that the editors consider not only essential when dealing with weiss’s poetry, but also a methodological necessity in the postmodern 21st century. As the first collection on the every-day trendier ruth weiss, this collection will be one of a kind, becoming a mandatory reading for all of those interested in the Beat Generation in general and “Beat women” in particular. With this in mind, the scope of this collection addresses:

  • detailed analyses of individual collections of poetry, as well as the position of ruth weiss as a Jazz & Poetry artist. In this regard, we are interested in historical accounts documenting the early years of innovation of Jazz & Poetry and weiss’s involvement in it, as well as her further development of the genre until today.
  • weiss’s personal biography and its effect on her poetic and artistic vision.
  • weiss’s involvement with the visual arts and the visual aspect in her poetry. In this regard, the collection explores both weiss’s involvement with visual arts such as painting or film and the influence of visual aesthetics in her poetry.
  • weiss’s use of poetic language in written and oral forms. Attention is paid in this respect to the performance aspect of weiss’s poetry, as well as to the way the poet plays with, bends and re-invents language.
  • weiss’s involvement in the Underground Film (The Brink, Ron Rice’s Flower Thief and Steven Arnold’s films), other audiovisual projects (ruth weiss meets her Prometheus [2007], Las Cuevas de Albion [2002]) – and the connections between these and weiss’s poetry.
  • weiss and the Beat Generation legacy: aesthetics, vision, and the issue of synchronicity.
  • weiss and literary genre. This includes essays paying attention to the mixture of genres in weiss’s oeuvre (lyric and narrative poem, travel journal, haiku, theatrical play, etc.)
  • adaptations of weiss’s work: Gerhard Samuel’s “Fortieth Day” – composed from weiss’s Desert Journal – and theatrical adaptations of her plays.
  • weiss’s collaborations and artistic network, which includes such diverse artists as novelist Jack Kerouac, poets Madeline Gleason, Philip Lamantia, Bob Kaufman, Anne Waldman, the painters Sutter Marin and Paul Blake, actor Taylor Mead, director Steven Arnold, a number of musicians (e.g., Sonny Wayne a.k.a. Sonny Nelson, Boo Pleasant, Doug Lynner), legendary stripper and comedian Carol Doda, etc.

Essays will be due December 31, 2017 and should be between 5000 and 6000 words in length. Interested contributors should send an abstract of 250–500 words with a short bio or their CV by April 12, 2017 to one of the editors,

Estíbaliz Encarnación Pinedo: estibaliz.encarnacion@um.es
Thomas Antonic: thomas.antonic@univie.ac.at