ENG 583 – POETICS: POST-SIXTIES AMERICAN POETRY: DISJUNCTIVE, PROCEDURAL AND CONCEPTUAL POETICS
PROF. STEVE McCAFFERY
Wednesday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 438
Registration Numbers: (A) 27841 (B) 30741
This course explores the post-Olsonian turn in poetry and poetics beginning in the 1970s. The poems and theories to be studied commonly repudiate the physiological and speechbased poetics of Projectierse, Black Mountain, and the New York School as well as lyric-confessional and narrative-based poetries. The post-sixties poets considered all accept the subject as linguistically and ideologically constructed, narrative as predicated on a fetishistic logic, and the lyric subject as both belated and false. The material under consideration foreground the non-mimetic, materialist possibilities in language; starting with Edward Dorn’s Gunslinger as a watershed text it moves on to consider the theory, practice and consequences of the systematic-chance texts of Jackson Mac Low and John Cage, the foundational theories and poetry of Language Writing through to the “post-Language” manifestations of Flarf, Conceptual Writing and the neo-Oulipo. The course is also mindful of the changing discourse networks during this period, especially the major shift from analog to digital, from typewriter culture to informatics and computer based productions and facilities. Although the majority of texts to be discussed are taken from within the politico-geographical boundaries of the United State, some material is culled from Canada. Works for detailed discussion will be drawn from Jackson MacLow, John Cage, Susan Howe, Ron Silliman, Lynn Hejinian, Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Lisa Robertson, bp Nichol, Christian Bök, Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler, Kenneth Goldsmith, Karen Mac Cormack, K. C. Mohammed, Rod Smith among others. The seminar discussions will culminate in discussions as to whether or not the ideas and poetic texts considered signal an epistemic shift between analog and digital cultural practice in poetry. The seminars will be enriched by class visits by guests experts in their field and will be articulated onto several public readings.