CFP: MLA conference Special Session "Poetics, Poiesis, Poeticity", San Francisco (13.03.2022)

Gundela Hachmann's picture

CFP for Special Session at 2023 MLA Annual Convention, held from 5 to 8 January 2023 in San Francisco, CA.

Session Title: Poetics, Poiesis, Poeticity

In this special session, we discuss new meanings and approaches to Poetics in the 21st century. In the twentieth century, scholars of Poetics have largely focused on questions of reception rather than production and used the term to describe methodologies of interpretation, sometimes specifically for poetry, sometimes for literature in general. For this panel, we invite contributions that explore how “poetics” can signify “something altogether more changeable, porous, and unpredictable, namely the compositional principles that poets themselves discover and apply during the writing process” (Reed 2012). Poetics in the 21st century, so the hypothesis for this session, cannot be limited to questions of hermeneutics, but ever more inclusive applications of the term bring into focus working conditions and contexts of creative expression. The Greek term poiesis describes the process of making or creating anew and featured prominently in poetic theories ever since Aristotle’s Poetics and Plato’s critiques of poetry both in The Republic and in Ion. While the term led to the formation of “poet,” “poem,” and “poetics,” it was originally not limited to writing or literature. In this panel, we both want to look back to these roots of literary criticism and look forward to ways of making it productive for new approaches.

Presentations may address, but are not limited to the following questions::

  • How can an interart conception of Poetics open paths for new methodologies and approaches? What are the benefits or limitations of, for example, a “Poetics of Cinema” (Ruiz 1990-2009)? What are the benefits or limitations of approaches that transcend the arts, such as a “Poetics of Islands” (Devi 2021)?
  • To what extent can we revive a production-oriented approach to poiesis and poetics? How does such an approach remain independent of ontological principles such as Beauty, the Good, or Truth? What are the implications of “Poetics Without Ontology” (Eshel 2019)?
  • How does our approach to literature change if we foreground notions of “work” (Jauss 1982) in our understanding of poiesis and Poetics? How can the working conditions of artistic creation be relevant to contemporary aesthetics?
  • Where do we see affinities between poiesis and autopoiesis, be this from the point of view of system theory or from a scientific perspective?
  • How does the concept of poeticity, developed in structural linguistics, offer ways to embed literature and the arts in broader networks of meaning, be this politics and public discourse (Rancière 2011) or religion and spirituality, such as with “Qur’ānic poeticity” (Hoffmann 2007)?
  • How do approaches focused on Black Poetics or African American Poetics (Shockley 2011, Quashie 2021) broaden existing notions and challenge long-standing assumptions about literature, poetry, and writing, similarly to how “Feminist Poetics” (Showalter 1979) did in the 1970s and 1980s?

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a short bio to Dr. Gundela Hachmann at Submission Deadline: Sunday, 13 March 2022.

Proposals for the special sessions will be reviewed by the MLA Program Committee in May; session organizers are notified of the committee’s decision by early June 2022.