Seminar, October 20-21, 2009.

Poetry Today, Seminar, October 20-21, 2009. A collaboration between The Nordic Department, The Department of Language, Literature and Culture, The Department of Aesthetic Studies, The Doctoral School in Arts and Aesthetics and Verbale Puppiller.



Jean-Marie Gleize

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Thu, October 15, 2009 12:23:53

Oú vont les chiens?

Poetry today exists by and through its own negation. With the radical alterations which poetry was exposed to towards the end of the 19th century (Baudelaire among others), the tension between affirmation and negation becomes the basic term of poetry. Poetry loses its specificity, its generic constituent – the genre of the lyric. Thus, the poetry that succeeds “poetry” – the post-poetry – lacks a poetic label. With Sorties as point of departure, this talk aims to describe how post-poetry exists exactly outside a poetic space. One of the main points in the talk is to elucidate the internal exits which are created through post-poetry – internal exits from what is widely recognised as the traditional poetical circus ring.

Jean-Marie Gleize is professor in French literature at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon where he is chairman of Centre d’études poétiques. He is also the founder and editor the review Nioques. His fields of expertise include: the poetic works of Francis Ponge and Rimbaud, post-poetry, literalism and poetic objectivism. Gleize is also a poet himself.

Selected writings: Poésie et figuration (1983), Poésie et figuration (1983), Simplification lyrique (1987), Léman (1990), A noir. Poésie et littéralité (1992), Le principe de nudité intégrale (1995), Les Chiens noir de la prose (1999) Néon (2004), Sorties (2009).

Dominic Rainsford

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Tue, October 13, 2009 10:05:41

Reading by Fractions: Some of Robert Lowell’s Sonnets

Many of the ways in which the study of literature has conceived, defended and marketed itself over the last 20 years or so have been more or less explicitly “ethical”. Literature, in such a context, is fundamentally entangled with questions of right or wrong, can do us good (in a suitably complicated post-poststructuralist way), or, at least, can help us do the theoretical work of meta-ethics or moral philosophy. Poetry, particularly modern poetry, has often seemed much less amenable to this kind of approach than prose fiction. This paper considers some texts that might seem particularly unaccommodating – five of Robert Lowell’s sonnets “about” his daughter and ex-wife – and seeks to bring out some of their provocative ethical potential, particularly in relation to questions of quantification and commensurability.

PhD, University College London, 1994. Worked at during the 90s at universities in England, Poland, USA and Wales. At Aarhus since 1998. Professor of Literatures in English since Nov. 2008. Books: Authorship, Ethics and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce (Macmillan, 1997); Literature, Identity and the English Channel (Palgrave, 2002); articles in journals such as Discourse, Dickens Quarterly, Film-Philosophy, European Journal of English Studies. Current projects include a book on literature, ethics and quantification.

Panel Discussion feat. Lindholm and Ping Huang

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Mon, October 12, 2009 14:21:45

Poetic Economy

The new experimental/conceptual literature and art have in recent history developed in smaller scenes and within modest publicity frames – in artistic, social and political systems and networks beyond the dominant culture. These scenes have created alternative infrastructures – for the publishing and distribution of artistic material, based on certain relational and organisational conditions; conditions that have generated new aesthetic options. With a view to introducing the contemporary experimental publishing scene of literary small presses, printed matter and little magazines, this talk will focus on the tendencies based on a breaking up in the publishing culture and publishing strategies in Scandinavia for the last years.

Marianne Ping Huang is Head of the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies. Before joining the department, she was Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Aarhus. She is coordinator of the Danish Research Network of Avant Garde Studies and the Nordic Research Network of Avant Garde Studies, and she has been involved in establishing the European Network of Avant Garde and Modernism Studies. She is currently working on auditory aspects of literature in readings, media art and print literature. She has been member of the Danish Literature Council and since 2003 member of the Committee of the Nordic Council's Literature Prize.

Audun Lindholm is the editor of Vagant, he runs the small publishing company Gasspedal, he is the co-editor of Tekstallianse and Audiatur.

Frank Kjørup

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Wed, October 07, 2009 10:18:36

Poetic Movement

Whenever we read verse – seated in the armchair while at the same time, in a space both imaginary and real, walking through the poem – a phenomenon which we frequently encounter is that of syntactic incompletion at the end of the poetic line. At this point, at which meaning as carried by syntax may be felt to break down, if only momentarily, are we then to ‘soften the blow’ of the line-end, gliding along to the next line to find syntax completing itself as if seamlessly? Or, conversely, are we to stop, to pause, aligning ourselves, as it were, with the interruptive force of the linear end-point, savouring, so to speak, the moment of syntactico-semantic breakdown inflicted by it? – Phenomenologically, this question is fundamental. Any attempt to answer it would seem to require an investigation into the very fundamentals of the experience of reading verse. Glimpses of what such an investigation might reveal, now, are such as we shall be attempting to catch.

Cand.phil. in Danish, Research Scholarship (1999-2003), Assistant Professor (2004-2007) and Associate Professor (2007-2008) at the Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. Vistiting Scholar & Fulbright Fellow, New York University (1999-2000). President in the Nordic Poetic Company. Author of Sprog versus sprog: Mod en versets poetik (2003). Recently submitted a doctoral thesis titled The Body in the Line: Steps to a Phenomenology of Verse.

Lis Møller

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Tue, October 06, 2009 14:18:47

The Newness of Poetry

My talk takes as its point of departure Derek Attridge's concept of the 'newness' (as contradistinguished to the 'originality') of poetry. Through a reading of a poem by William Wordsworth I propose to exemplify and to discuss the quality of the new in poetry - and to raise the question: Is newness the specific force of poetry?

Lis Møller, mag.art. et lic.phil., associate professor, Department for Comparative Literature, Aarhus Universitet, Co-Founder of Dansk Selskab for Romantikstudier (Danish Society for Studies of Romanticism), author of the monograph The Freudian Reading (1991) and many articles on various subjects, especially on English Romanticism and Scandinavian Modernism (Ibsen).

Charles Bernstein

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Tue, October 06, 2009 14:17:18

Hearing Voices

Considerations of the ontology of sound in recorded voice, considering the implications for poetry of one hundred years of voices on tape. The conjuring of voice unattached has a profound significance for poetry as a medium. The grammaphone reverses the Jakobsonian definition of poetry: it incites the perception of mechanical sound as if it were speech. The grammaphone is a reverse order poetry machine. The recorded voice only speaks; the possibility for dialog or response always present at a reading – where the presence of an audience intimately affects what is being presented – is illusory, making our close listening across the electrostatic barrier all the more our own private affair. The recorded reading reenacts the conditions for dialog without its actual presence, unless we want to consider the presence of the imagination. For the imaginative projection solicited by close listening to the grammaphonic poem is the one writing has required all along. For teachers, one obvious implication of the archive of recorded poetry becoming more available is that listening to the poem read by the poet might become a commonplace feature in any course. The sound file would become, ipso facto, a text for study, much like the visual document. Another central issue is the effect that sound files might have on scholarly editions.

Bernstein is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania. With Bruce Andrews, he edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. From 1990 to 2003, he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Director of the Poetics Program, which he co-founded, with Robert Creeely. In 2002, he was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor (the university's highest rank). Bernstein has been writer-in-residence or visiting faculty at Columbia University, Princeton University, Brown University, Temple University, Bard College, the New School for Social Research, Queens College, and the University of California at San Diego and is an associate faculty member of the Transdisciplinary PhD Program on "Languages, Identities, and Globalization," Faculty of Arts & Sciences, University of Coimbra (Portugal). Charles Bernstein is the author of 40 books, ranging from large-scale collections of poetry and essays to pamphlets, libretti, translations, and collaborations.

Eva Müller-Zettelmann

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Tue, October 06, 2009 14:15:17

Lyric Story-Telling

Poetry is one of the few literary modes perceived to be situated outside the ever-widening narrative realm. Indeed, its non-narrativity is often cited as its most salient characteristic, with the lyric mode allegedly being all that the narrative is not: a-temporal, non-spatial, non-dynamic, non-specific, anti-illusionist.

This paper attempts to demonstrate that the lyric is and always has been heavily reliant on narrativity and its various textual strategies. While poetry does indeed at times present itself as a text type which features a disembodied, linguistically self-conscious voice reflecting on the timeless truths of the human condition, it rarely does so without resorting to devices of a clear narrative nature in order to heighten a text’s mimetic and emotional appeal.

Eva Mueller-Zettelmann is an associate professor at the University of Vienna. She studied in Graz and Oxford, has collaborated with Monika Fludernik and Ansgar Nuenning and has been appointed external expert to the Hamburg Interdisciplinary Centre of Narratology. Her work focusses on narratology, the theory of poetry, cognitive theory and contemporary British poetry.


ProgramPosted by Mathias Kokholm Tue, October 06, 2009 11:53:06
12.30 – 12.45: Welcome

12.45 – 13.30: Charles Bernstein: HEARING VOICES
13.30 – 13.45: Discussion

14.30 – 14.45: Discussion

14.45 – 15.30: Lunch & Coffee

15.30 – 16.15: Jean-Marie Gleize: OÙ VONT LES CHIENS?
16.15 – 16.30: Discussion

10.15 – 11.00: Frank Kjørup: POETIC MOVEMENT
11.00 – 11.15: Discussion

11.15 – 12.00: Eva Müller-Zettelmann: LYRIC STORY-TELLING
12.00 – 12.15: Discussion

12.15 – 13.00: Lunch & Coffee

13.00 – 13.30: Lis Møller: THE NEWNESS OF POETRY
13.30 – 13.45: Discussion

13.45 – 14:45: Panel Discussion: POETIC ECONOMY
- feat. Audun Lindholm & Marianne Ping Huang


Poetry has traditionally enjoyed a privileged position within literary studies in grade school, upper secondary school and at the universities. Even though literature departments at many universities today seem to embrace issues of multiculturalism and globalisation, the production of poetry proliferates. The aim of this seminar is threefold, inquiring into: what kind of poetry is written today and how is it distributed? From a critical point of view, which reading strategies are fecund when approaching (contemporary as well as canonical) poetry? And finally, what is the specific force of poetry? What will be missed in its absence? Distinguished scholars from various countries and dis- ciplines have been invited to reflect on these pivotal matters.