Registration is now open for Special Relationships: Poetry Across the Atlantic Since 2000, a one-day symposium be held at Oxford University on May 19. A draft programme can also be accessed via the symposium website, www.poetrysince2000.
The symposium aims to consider some of the ways in which poets’ ideas of relatedness in the region complicate the idea of straight lines of influence. In Claudia Rankine’s 2015 Citizen, for example, Rankine recounts an incident at the home of a British novelist shortly after the 2011 London Riots, sparked by the death of Mark Duggan at the hands of the Metropolitan Police. When asked if she will write about Duggan’s death, Rankine responds ‘why don’t you?’. Yet Rankine does write about Duggan: she includes him in her litany of black people killed at the hands of the state. For Rankine, then, the African diaspora becomes one social formation in tension with the national, a common experience of racism creates a community that does not map on to national borders. Even so, Rankine’s long poem’s subtitle is ‘an American Lyric’.
By exploring the way that poetry’s various concepts of relationships simultaneously transgress borders, operate within them, and even reveal hidden borders across societies, the symposium aims to produce new insights into the multifariousness of poetic production since the year 2000. How have poets from the U.S.A., the U.K., Ireland, the Caribbean, and West Africa conceived of their relationships in a time of ever-greater connection, and how has this changed how they think about differences too?
Confirmed speakers include Sarah Howe (winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize), Oli Hazzard, and Sandeep Parmar. More information and updates can be found at the conference website, www.poetrysince2000.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the conference organizers, Hugh Foley and Kristin Grogan, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.