Please join Ignacio Infante and I for a seminar surrounding the translation of avant-garde poetics across national and oceanic bounds, and the political convolutions that arise from this contact and transmutation—at the American Comparative Literature Association Conference in New York City (New York University).

I’ll be speaking about the collaboration between poets, architects, and ex-Fascists in making a nation-building Museum of Modern Art that would present a “global” aesthetic in São Paulo.

Poetic Capital in Circulation: The Political Valences of Transnational Experimental Form

11:00am – 12:50pm on Friday (3/21), Saturday (3/22) and Sunday (3/23).  Bobst Library, NYU, NYC, room LL143.

Seminar Proposal:

In “Atlantic to Pacific,” David Palumbo-Liu argues that transnational form constitutes “a space of mutual legibility, a space that is mutually habitable.” This theoretical perspective demands that as comparatists, we reexamine the political valences of the global reach, dissemination, and translation of experimental art movements such as modernism and the neo-avant-garde—though the formal demands of these movements once tended to overwhelm critical discussion, and their politics have insistently been read in terms of cultural and political capitals treated as distinct, through the framework of so-called national languages and literatures. In doing so, we might find that in the hands of experimental authors, transnational form can compose a space of mutual illegibility as well.

This seminar aims to explore the political dimensions of transnational experimental literature, and their relationship to formal innovations and constraints. In what ways can the transnational circulation of experimental form be regarded as a political act in and of itself? And what are the politics of the transnational circulation of experimental forms and methodologies? Does such circulation necessarily constitute an attempt to expand the cultural and poetic capital of an author or group? Does the resultant cultural production conform to the categories of the local and the global, the vernacular and the cosmopolitan, the utopian and its failures—or do we need to come up with new conceptual languages to account for the forms it takes? We welcome paper proposals that examine the political valences of various forms of transnational experiment in the modern and contemporary moment, engaging a range of historical phases, languages, and geographies.  Possible topics include expanded mappings of aesthetics previously read in terms of national histories; polylingual, cross-media, and interdisciplinary approaches to transnational poetics; new readings of international aesthetic trends ranging from Futurism and the Bauhaus to Concrete poetics, Fluxus, and various strains of conceptualism; and the strategic and/or incomplete translation and “transcreation” of modernist and avant-garde proposals from one region to the next.

Seminar Proposal Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, Center/Periphery, Form, Poetics, Politics, Avant-garde, Neo-Avantgarde, Planetarity, Poetics, Modernism, Postmodernism, Experimentalism, Ethics, Multilingualism, Polyglossia, Xenoglossia, Transnational literature, Translation.

Friday, 3/21

-Infante, Ignacio,   Washington University in St. Louis
On the (Un)Translatability of Experimental Form: Politics, Poetics, and their Capitals

-Malcolm, Jane,     Université de Montréal
To ‘be alone with English’: Stein’s Immersive Poetics and the Multilingual Reader

-Villa-Ignacio, Teresa,    Tulane University
Poetry-in-Translation as Transnational Ethical Experiment: The View from Paris

-Wertheim, Christine,    California Institute of the Arts
Me Inc.(R): On Conceptualism, Capitalism and the Inc.orporation of the Self.

Saturday, 3/22

-Scappettone, Jennifer,   University of Chicago
The Dream of a Transnational Language: Poetry, Architecture, and the Forging of a Global Aesthetic at the São Paulo Museum of Art

-Yepez, Heriberto,   UC Berkeley

-Feinsod, Harris,  Northwestern University
El Corno Emplumado: Hemispheric Poetry Networks, 1962-1969

-Galvin, Rachel,  Johns Hopkins University
Poetic Innovation and Appropriative Translation: Argentine Neo-Objectivism

Sunday, 3/23

-Leong, Michael,   Goddard College
“Foreign Investment”: Surrealism, Linh Dinh, and Vietnamese Diasporic Poetry

-Ostby, Marie,     University of Virginia
Protest through Transgressive Form: The “Bastard Ghazals” of Adrienne Rich and Simin Behbahani

-Bury, Louis,   New York University
“Choos[ing] your own rules”: On The Political Promise of Literary Constraint


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