The process of mediatization makes poetry conscious of its relation to media. This development has opened a field of possibilities – the integration and distribution of words with sound and image outside of the book, the dissemination of words into the rapid networks of a digital public space – and in addition it creates new sensibilities – affects, atmospheres, materialities – that reflect back on the written word and the book and conjures new directions for reading and writing book-poetry, including new takes on the history and the concept of poetry.
This conference intends to explore the state of the art of poetry within these contemporary mediatic distributions of the sensible. Where do the words go when they leave the page? How do word, sound and image interact in poetry today, and how does this differ from the long tradition of comparing the arts? To what extent is the study of genre (and with it the idea of poetry) affected by theses changes? What are the connections between the above-mentioned new range of sensibilities and poetry, media and culture? And, finally, what are the consequences for the way we analyze poetry and deal with its history?
The conference takes place in Aarhus, Denmark, December 4th to December 6th 2014 and is arranged by Center for Research in Contemporary Poetry at the University of Aalborg and Aarhus, Denmark, and Hedmark University College, Norway.
Center for Research in Contemporary Poetry: www.cercop.cgs.aau.dk
We invite all scholars and doctoral candidates to present papers that address the questions and issues mentioned above. Topics might include but are not restricted to:
- Intermediality: word, sound and image in the digital age
- Politics of space: poetry in digital or real public spaces
- Sensibilities: affects, atmospheres and materialities
- History: rethinking poetry (old or new) in respect to media (old or new)
- Conceptualism: challenges to the poiesis of poetry
- Translation: the local and the global
- Interventions: poetry outside of poetry, or reading the world poetically
- Autonomy vs. heteronomy: the borders of poetry
- Poetry now: close-readings of contemporary poetry
- Interfaces: between poetry and criticism
- Other arts: as in film and poetry
The time for paper presentations is strictly limited to 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion. The official language of the conference is English. Please send your abstract (around 300 words) including a short CV as an attachment to Dan Ringgaard (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stefan Kjerkegaard (email@example.com).
The deadline for paper proposals is August 1st, 2014.
Please let us know if you wish to be registered as a participant without presenting a paper.
The conference fee will be 120 EUR including conference dinner. A preliminary conference program will be published November 1st at www.conferences.au.dk/poetry
The conference is kindly hosted by Center for Research in Contemporary Poetry, Aalborg University and the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University.
Conference organizers: Stefan Kjerkegaard and Dan Ringgaard.
Conference Committee: Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen, Rikke Andersen Kraglund, Jakob Schweppenhäuser, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University and members of CERCOP.
THURSDAY 4th December
|9.30-9.45||Dan Ringgaard: Welcome|
|9.45-11.00||Virginia Jackson: “Poetry/Genre/Medium: C18/C19/C20/C21”|
|11.15-12.30||Claudia Benthien: “”Audio-Poetry”: Lyrical Speech in the Digital Age”|
|20.00-22.00||Poetry Reading: Cia Rinne, Maria Silkeberg and Yoko Tawada at Godsbanegården (See map below)|
FRIDAY 5th December
|9.30-9.45||Dan Ringgaard: Introducing Yoko Tawada|
|9.45-11.00||Yoko Tawada: “A word, liberated from its duty”|
|11.15-11.30||Stefan Kjerkegaard: Introducing Poetry Lab|
SATURDAY 6th December (in Scandinavian languages)
|9.30-10.15||Eirik Vassenden: “Diktet og den antropologiske maskinen. Menneske, dyr og nye utsigelsesinstanser hos bl.a. Øyvind Rimbereid og Aina Villanger”|
|10.15-11.00||Jørn Erslev Andersen: “Lidt om kontemporære lyriske jeg-objektivationer og deres mulige læsninger i anledning af Pablo Llambías' prosasonetter, Asta Olivia Nordenhofs blog, Theis Ørntofts natur og Pia Juuls onkler”|
|11.15-12.00||Maria Silkeberg: “Klangens principiella icke-ensamhet: Om 23:23, Material och Till Damaskus”|
Thursday 14.00-15.30, Building 1453, Room 125. Chair: Stefan Kjerkegaard
- Louise Mønster: ”Johannes Heldén a multimodal poet and artist”
- Hans Kristian Rustad: ”Photographic framing in contemporary poetry in Norway”
- James Day: ”Art, Writing, and Art Writing”
Thursday 14.00-15.30, Building 1455, Room 116. Chair: Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen
- Mikkel Frantzen: ”i am a little bit more depressed than you are – Tao Lin and a contemporary poetry of depression”
- Michael Karlsson Pedersen: “With a light hand: The touched world of poetry”
- Ane Martine Lönneker: ”Elegiac sensibilities between media”
Thursday 15.45-17.00, Building 1453, Room 125. Chair: Ole Karlsen
- Anna Persson: ”Christopher Reid’s ”The Song of Lunch”: Intermediality and Alterations of Narrative Strategies in the BBC Film Adaptation”
- Anne Karhio: From page to screen: ”The Poetry Project and the poetics of landscape”
Thursday 15.45-17.00, Building 1455, Room 116. Chair: Peter Stein Larsen
- Birgitte Stougaard Petersen: ”Poetry slam as a performative act”
- Ole Karlsen: ”Ekphrastic Terms Revisited: Ekphrasis – with textual materials from Norwegian Poetry 2000 – 2014”
Friday 14.00-15.15, Building 1467, Room 130. Chair: Hans Kristian Rustad
- Stephen Joyce: ”Mayfly Thoughts: Twaikus, Alt Lit, and the Permanent Evanescence of Twitter Poetry ”
- Matti Kangaskoski: ”The Click – Simple Moves and Big Differences in Cia Rinne’s archives zaroum ”
Friday 14.00-15.15, Buliding 1467, Room 215. Chair: Dan Ringgaard
- Rikke Andersen Kraglund: ”Repeat. Reject. Renew.”
- Peter Stein Larsen: ”The Short Poem, the Long Poem – and the New Media
Friday 15.30-16-45, Building 1467, Room 130. Chair: Louise Mønster
- Rasmus Dahl: ”To read or not to read conceptual poetry: that is the question”
- Kenneth Alewine: ”Traveling Metaphors and Unstable Poetry”
Friday 15.30-16-45, Building 1467, Room 215. Chair: Rikke Kraglund Andersen
- René Rasmussen: ”Enunciation, linguistic event and affects”
- Johan Alfredsson: ”Teaching Poetry through Mediatization (and Back again...)”
Virginia Jackson, UC Irvine: "Poetry/Genre/Medium: C18/C19/C20/C21."
Since the late eighteenth century, shifts in ideas of poetry have been intimately connected to shifts in ideas of literary genres. When genre definition became historical rather than taxonomic, the definition of poetry became historical as well--and all sorts of confusion has ensued over the last two and a half centuries. This paper will focus on four snapshots in that history, and will think through those moments as moments in media as well as genre shift: Phillis Wheatley's poems' circulation in performance, broadside, newspapers, and bound volume in eighteenth-century Boston; Walt Whitman's poems' circulation in newspapers and self-produced editions in nineteenth-century New York; James Weldon Johnson's editorial framing of "American Negro Spirituals" and "American Negro Poetry" in the 1920s; and Kenneth Goldsmith's framing of the internet as poetry today.
Claudia Benthien, Univeristy of Hamburg: “Audio-Poetry”: Lyrical Speech in the Digital Age”
The talk will both discuss contemporary live performances of poetry, such as readings and poetry slams, and mediatized performances. Processes of “translating” specific features of printed or written lyric poetry into (secondary) orality and bodily and vocal presence as well as processes of mediatisation and remediatisation of such life performances into video and audio files will be analyzed with regard both to their aesthetics and their framings. The various modalities and presentation modes available for contemporary poetry will be discussed with regard to their mediality and situativity. A second focus will be on the ephemeral medium of the (mediatized) voice. The talk will also present and analyze the audio performance of a poem by the German poet Thomas Kling, who considers the life presentation of his poems as “language installations” (Sprachinstallationen), as well as a recording of a performed text by the German poet Nora Gomringer, who started out from slam poetry but is now considering her works as “speech texts” (Sprechtexte) and frequently adds audio CDs to her poetry collections in book form.
Yoko Tawada, Berlin: "A word, liberated from its duty".
I will show the artist books with my poems and talk about the word as a body that you can touch and smell and sometimes even eat. My high-tech-media is paper.
Kenneth Alewine, , University of Texas: ”Traveling Metaphors and Unstable Poetry”
Electronic poetry is inherently unstable. Transmitted along the circuits of unreliable machines in formats that are soon obsolete, poetic texts as data are vulnerable to mining, bit rot and viral infection. Subject to crashing software, mutable interfaces and constant upgrades, electronic poetry is thus a transient medium, existing as text built on layers of other texts floating as algorithms in an uncertain universe of code.
In his Paragone, Leonardo da Vinci denigrated poetry as a fleeting medium that lacked the stability of paintings just as he disparaged music because of its ephemeral qualities that did not hold to painting’s reliability. The electronic paragone of today represents a similar ephemerality, one that is energized by the instability afforded in technologies that are unpredictable and constantly in flux, leaving metaphor equally invigorated by the chaos of the unstable media through which it must travel.
Written primarily through texts that also signify in sound and visual image, digital metaphors become electronic vehicles that must travel across the sense modalities of the arts to compete their meaning. Numerous iterations begin in one medium and find simultaneous expression in another, what may be viewed as a poetic technicity, where words transform briefly into cycles of sound and light.
In this presentation I will explore what happens to poetry when it is converted into music and the visual image, and why these conversions make meaning unstable in poems. I will also show how virtual metaphors, chief among learning tools, stretch poetry across the sense modalities. How might an idea begin in sound, make its way across the text, and find its completion in the visual image? How does a metaphor begin otherwise in one medium, cross its boundaries, and find completion in another?
Finally, Leonardo believed painting was superior because it was long lasting, and unlike poetry and music, which require time to unfold, he believed painting could be observed as a “simultaneous perception.” I will suggest that the state of electronic poetry today is fleeting yet simultaneously perceived as mediations across the arts through means of virtual metaphors occurring in texts, sounds and visual images that engage a new circularity.
Johan Alfredsson, University of Gothenburg: “Teaching Poetry through Mediatization (and Back again...)”
Poetry has gained new momentum over the last couple of decades, due to the digital revolution. It could be argued, somewhat paradoxically, that this is to a large extent indebted to the fact that poetry for a long period before this moved further and further into a hermetic margin: due to this marginalized position poetry, ironically, seemed to have nothing to lose when new media came along. In comparison to e.g. prose, poetry has embraced the digital revolution to a much larger extent. An outcome of this development is that poetry has (over the last 10-15 years) been busy creating all sorts of alliances – not only with new media, but also with other art forms – in an unprecedented way (the phenomenon is by no means new, but the level of extent is). These alliances have resulted in a wide range of new forms of poetry, all based on ideas of heterogeneity, and even impurity.
Stefan Kjerkegaard (2010) has made a distinction between ”lyric” and ”poetry” within contemporary poetic practice, in order to tell the dense, esoteric, and principally monologic, tradition (lyric) apart from the more recent tradition which is instead based on impurity, heterogeneity and mediatization (poetry).
My paper suggests that the study of this second, more recent, poetic tradition offers vast opportunities, not least within our educational systems. Contemporary poetry has, like few other art forms, taken on the challenges of mediatization and of digital information technologies. Within it, you can therefore see media and marketing logic, being both employed and scrutinized to an unusually high degree (i.e. contemporary poetry does not only relate to media logic, it also involves in a discussion on its political (Cf. Rancière) consequences).
The didactic interface of new media-studies when studying contemporary poetry would therefore be very rewarding – and vice versa. In my paper I will show this by using a couple of poetic examples from the last decade.
Rasmus Dahl, University of Aalborg: “To read or not to read conceptual poetry: that is the question”
In this talk I would like to raise the question of whether or not one ought to read conceptual poetry – and in either case how? My point of departure will be Kenneth Goldsmith’s often quoted and undoubtedly provocative claim, that you don’t need to read his books to know “what they’re like; you just need to know the general concept”. This inherently problematic claim, which is often contradicted in Goldsmith’s other writings on conceptual poetry, seems to challenge the way we view and talk about poetry. How does one even go about not reading? How does one read at all? What this seems to point towards is that conceptual poetry is first and foremost a question of reading. But what kind of question? Drawing on the well-established similarities between conceptual writing and the OuLiPo I would argue that like the OuLiPo, conceptual poetry views the text as an imaginary solution to the constraint. However unlike the OuLiPo, conceptual poetry’s imaginary solutions do not concern the question of writing so much as the question of reading. Going from there I would like to suggest that conceptual poetry is above all concerned with producing new ways of reading; not with producing texts. How to read or how not to read might consequently not just be the question posed by conceptual poetry but also its own answer. As such we might be better off by not dwelling on conceptual poetry’s textual artifacts, but rather focusing our attention on the processes and procedures of reading that these artifacts initiate.
James Day, University of Copenhagen: “Art, Writing, and Art Writing”
There is a long list of artists who have worked with the material components of language in ways which challenge the conventional apparatus of writing. (The likes of Robert Smithson, Carl Andre, Ewa Partum and Vito Acconci come to mind.) Poetry has been seen recently - somewhat unfairly - as lagging behind the visual arts in its willingness to experiment with its traditional media and institutions. This paper will go very quickly through some recent art work, poetry and art writing - which seems deliberately difficult to place within institutions of literature, the visual arts and criticism - and then go on to discuss the benefits of writing which tests itself against its material and institutional limits, for example by taking writing off of the page and into public space. The relationship between storytelling and technology in some of Tris Vonna-Michell's installations (Vonna-Michell’s work often involves seemingly unreliable narrative that imitates the discontinuities in the slide shows, tape playback, or other technology which accompanies them) bears comparison with the writing of poets such as Christian Bök and Caroline Bergvall, whose work also tests itself against the conventional media associated with poetry. In particular I’ll be asking how this expanded field for writing might affect criticism, with its conventions of transparency and linear progression. It seems remarkable that the writing of art history, for example, has remained so staid despite its complex understanding of the aesthetic breakthroughs of the art, literature and philosophy of the last century. After the achievements of some of these writers and artists it seems hard to return to what are broadly realist literary conventions, and I’ll be arguing for more experimental writerly responses by historians and critics.
Mikkel Frantzen, University of Copenhagen: “i am a little bit more depressed than you are – Tao Lin and a contemporary poetry of depression”
After writing on schizophrenia and capitalism in Anti-Oedipus Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari were once asked: Have you ever met a schizophrenic? And their answer was: Oh no, we have never met a single one. In the case of depression, it is just the opposite. Everybody seems to know someone who is or has been depressed, if, in fact, one is not depressed oneself. Thus, depression is generally regarded as the prevalent pathology of our time.
For that reason alone it is relevant to examine the relation and proximity between depression and contemporary poetry. And as it turns out, one of the leading poets in America today, Tao Lin (who currently also has a major influence on a number of young Danish poets), is indeed working within a depressive register. Consequently, this presentation is interested in analyzing and contextualizing depression in the poetry of Tao Lin in general, and in his seminal work you are a little bit happier than i am in particular. Using this book as an exemplary case I seek to expose and explore the ways in which literature experiences and expresses depression as a present-day political phenomenon. In other words, my aim is to outline what a contemporary depressive poetry might look like at the intersection aesthetics and politics.
My hypothesis in this respect is that Tao Lin, in his poetic practice, reacts to two main problems, which two problems can, somewhat crudely, be identified and summarized as a problem of mediality/technology (the fact that the internet pretty much is an unavoidable condition for any contemporary experience, forming new forms of sensibilities and affects, including, of course, those of loneliness, alienation, and depression) and a problem of sociality/normativity (the fact that depression develops in a society where the idea or fantasy of the good, authentic and happy life has transformed into a normative imperative, simultaneously institutionalized at the societal level and internalized at the individual ditto).
With regards to the literary expression my close-reading will hopefully show that Lin develops a literal and unironic style, a weary form of poetry, which sometimes goes under the notion of “new sincerity”, but which, in my view, could more appropriately be termed forrealism, or stream of self-consciousness. At all events Tao Lin’s poetry remains utterly depressive, and yet strangely comical. But as Samuel Beckett once wrote: “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”
Stephen Joyce, Aarhus University: ”Mayfly Thoughts: Twaikus, Alt Lit, and the Permanent Evanescence of Twitter Poetry”
Like everything else in the digital age, poetry finds itself confronted by the opportunities and challenges of the Internet. How will poets adapt to the possibility of free instantaneous global dissemination and how will the medium influence the form of the poetry written? This paper examines the development of poetry on social media by looking at the emergence of two movements associated with Twitter poetry, Alt Lit and the Micropoets Society. Twitter represents a fascinating challenge for the modern poet for, as Goethe once wrote, “It is in working within limits that the master reveals himself.” Yet the contrasts between Alt Lit and micropoetry illustrate that some key debates of twentieth century poetry continue to structure public arguments about what poetry should be.
Given the concision required for Twitter, the Micropoets society tacitly encourages the briefest of classical forms, the haiku, and its thousands of members publish haikus (or twaikus) on a variety of subjects. Rather than a circle of founders, micropoets are primarily grouped around the idea of poetic form. Alt Lit, on the other hand, is a much more self-consciously artistic movement, as seen in its varying manifestos, and promotes a use of language and type of content that can be considered indigenous to the Internet, a ‘natural’ language of pop culture and status updates without pretensions to artifice that is nonetheless self-aware. In engaging debates between formalism and authenticity, sincerity and irony, authorship and identity, the two groups illustrate how the social question of how we define poetry continues even within the space of 140 characters. Moreover, the developments of language in this popular medium indicate potential directions for poetic development over the next few decades.
Matti Kangaskoski, Helsinki University: “The Click– Simple Moves and Big Differences in Cia Rinne’s archives zaroum”
I propose to discuss the simple but elegant operation of clicking in a series of digital poems by a Swedish author Cia Rinne. The seven poems in archives zaroum (2008) contain elements that rotate, morph and multiply, thus performing changes in language and in ways of perceiving the elements. Each element is altered upon one or several clicks. Sometimes the alterations are very subtle, sometimes bigger. They are often humorous, and produce a sense of naive simplicity. Similarly, the operation of the click is deceivingly unassuming, yet it makes all the difference. Under the unassuming surface lie crucial implications on the nature of the digital platform, to which the poems give their particular twist.
I argue that the already habitual action of clicking can be seen to imply the change between print and digital platforms, one which the humanities is currently trying to grasp. The click makes a difference: one element is being replaced by another; it shows the potential for change. More precisely, the click marks the difference between static and dynamic platforms.
In my presentation I aim to examine this difference along with archives zaroum, which, through the click, connects the potential of change in language with the potential of change in the digital platform.
Cia Rinne 2008: archives zaroum. http://www.afsnitp.dk/galleri/archiveszaroum/Hansen, Mark B. N (2004): New Philosophy for a New Media. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.]: MIT press.
Hayles, Katherine; Pressman, Jessica (2013): Comparative Textual
Media. Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press (Electronic mediations, 42).
Anne Karhio, The National University of Ireland: ”From page to screen: The Poetry Project and the poetics of landscape”
In 2013, as a part of the Culture Programme of Ireland’s EU presidency, The Poetry Project was set up by the Kinsale Arts Festival in partnership with Poetry Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy. In the project, poems by established and emerging Irish poets were coupled with works by Irish video artists. The resulting collaborative works were published each week, for nine months, on the project website and emailed to recipients in Ireland and in more than one hundred countries around the world. The motifs of place and landscape, a persistent leitmotif in Irish poetic culture, also featured strongly within this project. In the Irish context, the addressing of place and landscape often continues to rely on tradition foregrounding an intimate link between poet, community and place, even when such links are questioned rather than affirmed. However this connection is necessarily altered and complicated in works which rely on a team of practitioners for their compilation, and whose authors have often worked independently from each other’s creative processes. In this presentation, I will discuss how the verbal, visual and auditory elements of the works published within The Poetry Project simultaneously enact and reflect the challenges and discontinuities related to representations of place, space and landscape in the poetry of the digital era. The presentation also considers the cultural politics reflected within the project itself. The invitation for Irish and international audiences to “celebrate Ireland’s literary and visual creativity” and to “discover Ireland through different eyes” raises questions on poetry’s role and function in the contemporary society. How are poetic representations of landscape influenced as it is marketed as a commodity (the poems released within the project were said to fit the “busy schedules” of global audiences, with their music video length and easy online accessibility), and are questions of cultural identity foregrounded or dismissed in specific ways in this context?
Ole Karlsen, Hedmark University College: ”Ekfrastikkens omgrep revisited : Ekfrasen – med tekstdøme frå norsk poesi 2000 – 2014”
Ekfrasen, skreiv Leo Spitzer i 1955, er «the description of an objet d’art by medium of the word». Då ekfrase-omgrepet for alvor byrja vinne terreng utover førre hundreåret er det denne definisjonen som ligg til grunn, med ulike former for presiseringar og tillempingar. Fleire aksar og frontar har utteikna seg gjennom studier og drøftingar dei seinare åra: Er den moderne ekfrasen kjenneteikna av (venlegsinna) møte eller paragone? Er ekfrasen som skriftmodus eller (sub-)sjanger kjenneteikna av rørsle, tidligheit, narrativisering (som til dømes hos J. W. Heffernan) eller stasis, stillstand og tidløyse (som hos M. Krieger)? Sjølv om det kunne vere fristande å drøfte biletkunstens invadering og kolonisering av den moderne lyrikken særleg innanfor til dømes installasjonskunst, konseptdikting og digital poesi, vil eg i mitt opplegg konsentrere meg om det andre hovudspørsmålet – med avsett hos sentrale norske diktbøker frå dei seinare åra. I drøftinga vil eg også peike på enkelte drag ved ekfrasen der før-spitzerianske og før-lessingske tenkjemåtar blir aktualiserte.
Ekphrastic Terms Revisited: Ekphrasis – with textual materials from Norwegian Poetry 2000 – 2014. In 1955 Leo Spitzer famously stated that ekphrasis is “the description of an objet d’art by medium of the word”. In Scandinavian literary studies this definition still basically holds the ground, with minor adaptions. However, certain questions seem to recur: Are modern ekphrastic poems characterized by paragone or friendly meetings between sister arts? Are ekphrastic poems characterized by movement, narration, time domination (cfr. J.W. Heffernan) or by stasis, stillness, timelessness (cf. Krieger)? Although it might be tempting to discuss how modern Norwegian poetry, at least to some extent, is invaded and colonized by the visual arts within e.g. installations, conceptual forms, and digital poetry, I will concentrate on the second main question above – on the basis of a selection of recent Norwegian poems. In my discussion I will also point out certain exphrastic traits that actualize pre-Spitzerian and even pre-Lessingian ways of dealing with the relationship between poetry and the visual arts.
Rikke Andersen Kraglund: ”Repeat. Reject. Renew.”
Poets today often remix or combine preexisting materials, compose through deletion or use found text that is not conventionally literary. These poets are challenging traditional and commonplace assumptions about the function and the nature of poetry. The language is not “to any degree heightened” (Gerard Manley Hopkins), “the best words in the best order” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) or formally ambitious.
In this paper I want to discuss some of these practices in contemporary poetry with special focus on the sonnet sequence Monte Lema, Hundstein and Sex Rouge (2011-13) by the Danish writer Pablo Llambías. In the sonnet sequence the criticism of the works is written in advance. Why does the poet tell us that he fails to live up to the expectations of poetry? What kinds of ideas about poetry are challenged in this self-criticism? Are these gestures calculated attacks on institutional practices and academic standards?
Peter Stein Larsen, University og Aalborg: “The Contemporary Long Poem as Resistance to Modernist Poetic Tradition”
The collection of poems and the page of the book have been crucial to the formats that poetry has assumed in the history of Modernism. A few decades ago, the poetry collection was typically a forty-page book with forty of autonomous poems. In my presentation, I will focus on the resistance to this poetic norm. This resistance has been discussed by literary critics like Joseph N. Riddel, Margaret Dickie, Smaro Kamboureli, Joseph M. Conte, and Brian McHale. I will focus on, how the tradition of the long poem has caused a series of contradictory positions to the Modernist poetic tradition. Moreever, I will in the paper claim that all the different kinds of resistance to the Modernist poem can be registered in the contemporary long poem.
Ane Martine Lönneker, Aarhus University: “Elegiac sensibilities between media”
The turn to affect and emotion in contemporary humanities has inspired a renewed interest in the how artworks represent, perform and evoke feeling. In literary criticism, a sharp distinction between the work and its emotional effects is no longer considered crucial – indeed, the tendency today is that affectivity is understood as something fundamentally relational and the power and play of aesthetic feelings are recognized as active forces of culture. Although contemporary, the ideas about affect that resonate in contemporary humanities may also be used as an incitement to revisit some of poetry’s ‘old sensibilities’ and reflect back upon genre history to discuss how feeling and mediality have been related historically.
This paper addresses the topic with the genre of elegy in focus and presents my attempt to reconstruct the notion of the elegiac as an affective-aesthetic complex from an intermedial perspective. In the selection of poetics and essays on the genre, which I will present examples from, we see the contours of sensibilities that grow out of the written elegies and their reception but which also come into being in relation to other medial forms of expression, particularly the audible. The elegy is most frequently understood as either a metrical form or as poems on the occasion of death, but during the 18thcentury, elegiac comes to denote a distinctive feeling tone– an ‘Empfindungsweise’ [mode of feeling] in literature, not limited to poetry (Friedrich Schiller), and perhaps not even limited to literature: from the 19th century the label ‘elegy’ is adopted by composers to name a certain emotional character of musical compositions. The materiality of the elegiac distich has arguably also shaped the idea of elegiac feeling, and I argue that the genre history conjures ideas of affective dynamics and temporal sensibilities that are intimately connected with notions of rhythm and movement. This invites an intermedial understanding of elegiac feeling and challenges the prevailing psychological understanding of the genre as a representation of mourning.
Louise Mønster, University of Aalborg: “Johannes Heldén a Multimodal Poet and Artist”
My paper will centre on Swedish poet and artist Johannes Heldén. Heldén is born in 1978, but although he is a young man, his CV displays an impressing list of works. He has proved his talent in a wide range of art forms including visual art, collections of poems, cartoons, digital works at the internet, animation videos and music. He is a Nordic contemporary artist, who more than any other has an intermediale and multimodal profile and who masters different media and art forms. My paper will present some of Heldén’s works, and it will discuss the ways in which these works encourage us to rethink our understanding of poetry. The works in question are the poem collection Science Fiction (2010), the book object First Contact (2011), the digital artwork The Prime Directive (2006) and the animation video Red shift (2009).
Michael Karlsson Pedersen, University of Southern Denmark: “With a light hand”: The touched world of poetry”
The recent interest in such concepts as Stimmung and atmosphere addresses a basic problem for literary studies: how to connect the sensuousness of a non-thematized being-in-the-world with the cognitive and thematized world of language. I would like to enter this problem through the notion of touch. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht gives a clue, when he defines Stimmung as a soft and light material touch (as experienced with for instance music or weather). Following Gumbrecht, I propose that poetic language is itself a light mode of world-touching, which the poem bears witness to. Thus the world of the poem is always a touched world. This means further that poetic language has the ability to design a world governed by light and soft touches. This focus resonates clearly in the poetry of the modern German poet Karl Krolow, who according to himself wrote his poems “with a light hand”. The touch is here specifically that of fair weather as performed by for instance the sunlight, clear air or a soft wind. His poems however are not only designs of this light world, but are also themselves conscious of their own design-ness. Finally, I would like to compare this paper’s focus on light weather with the black meteorology of Peter Sloterdijk.
Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen, Aarhus University: “Poetry slam as a performative act”
My paper will describe poetry slam both through empirical examples and as a phenomenon raising important theoretical perspectives. A poetry slam is a competition at which poets read or recite original work. These performances are then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience.
I will discuss poetry slam as an example of an oral change captured in contemporary poetry practices focusing on poetry readings and performances as an independent and analyzable object.
My paper will relate poetry slam to the cultural and rhetorical practices of free style rap. Poetry slam seem to embody the audible side of poetry by engaging in an oral and improvisational culture around poetry underlining both the production and the perception of poetry as genuinely performative.
Anna Persson, University of Amsterdam: “Christopher Reid’s ”The Song of Lunch”: Intermediality and Alterations of Narrative Strategies in the BBC Film Adaptation”
This paper centers on Chrsitopher Reid’s 2009 narrative poem “The Song of Lunch” and the BBC adaptation of the poem, directed by Niall MacCormick. The Song of Lunch was aired on National Poetry Day October 7 2010 (BBC). The poem was published by CB Editions in 2009 and was reissued by Faber in 2010 to tie in with the airing of the film. Paratextually the Faber edition is closely linked to the 50 minute TV film, as the cover shows a photograph of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman who star in the production. Moreover, there is a BBC logo with the accompanying note: “A BBC TV programme”. The poem portrays a meeting of two past lovers over lunch. It is mainly constituted of internal observations, which appear to be presented by an omniscient narrator. In the film, however, the main character Alan Rickman carries out the narration through voice-over.
The paper at hand is not a strict comparative analysis between the two forms of Reid’s poem. Rather, the focus lies on the intermedial aspects and the shift of the point of view as the poem transitions to the screen. Drawing on Gérard Genette’s Narrative Discourse, I will exemplify how the shift of point of view alters the imagery and imaginative openings of the poem. This can be exemplified by the representation on the screen of the poem as it reads, ”his trusty blue pen / can snooze with its cap on” (3). A clear shift of the point of view takes place in the dialogue between Thompson and Rickman where parts of the poem come to serve as dramatic instruction rather than omniscient narration, “She raises an arm” (42). Accordingly, this paper argues that although there is a strong intermedial connection between the two versions of the poem, they also stand as works of art in their own right.
Arvidson, Jens et al. Changing Borders: Coneporary Positions in Intermediality. Lund: Intermedia Studies Press, 2007. Print.
BBC. “Thompson and Rickman to star in Reid poem adaptation.” BBC News Entertainment and Arts. Web.
Genette, Gérard. Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980. Print.
The Song of Lunch. Niall MacCormick. BBC, 2010. Film.
Reid, Christopher. The Song of Lunch. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. Print.
René Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen: “Enunciation, linguistic event and affects”
In this paper, I will discuss the structure of enunciation in newer Danish poetry (Lars Skinnebach and Søren Ulrik Thomsen). I understand enunciation as a dialog, which includes another talking to/in the subject of the poem. In this context it is necessary to distinguish between the subject of what is enunciated, for ex. an I, and the subject of the enunciation. The subject of the poem is divided between these two dimensions. I will look at this in relationship to the linguistic event, which I according to Alain Baudiou’s idea about the event understand as something, which breaks with a given situation before (the event) and which is not included in a possible situation after. The event is evoked in poetic language, although it is not present in any situation, or can be located in, what Theodor W. Adorno call a wordless linguistic moment. The existence of such a linguistic event ‘represents’ a break with the rest of language in the poem or gives birth to a singular monological language outside the dialogical side of it. The affects, which poetry may raise, are determined by such an event, which is also manifest in a love of that, which has no name and which rests unnamed outside any conceptual understanding or contemporary discourse (for ex. death, bodily dissolution, linguistic chaos and sex). This can explain anxiety (one of the most important affects) connected to paranoia in Skinnebach, where the subject is in an ongoing fight with the other, as well as death in Thomsen, whose poems constitute a long requiem. I will show you this with a few poems from Skinnebach’s later books and Thomsen’s Rystet spejl.
Hans Kristian Rustad, Hedmark University College: “Photographic framing in contemporary poetry in Norway”
This paper explores the interplay of poetry and photography, particularly as manifested in the photographical framing of the world operating in poetic texts. In The Virtual Window. From Alberti to Microsoft (2006) Anne Friedberg explores how the idea of “windows” as a frame has been conceptualized and used since the 15th century paintings up to the computer screen windows of today. She examines window as metaphor, window as architectural component, and window as an opening to the dematerialized reality framed on the screen, and argues that how the world is framed in the arts is just as important as what is in the frame.
What are the coincidences of poetic and photographic lenses in contemporary poetry in Norway? How does this poetry interacts with photography as a medium, and as a cultural and aesthetic object? And how does it make use of the photography’s way of framing the world.
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