Just as a painter must first love pigment and form, or a sculptor must love metal, wood, or stone, a poet must first love and trust language.
This flightless, multi-site, interdisciplinary conference explores the confluences between environmental and religious perspectives and practices in the long Anglophone nineteenth century (1780-1900).
I’ll be presenting a paper at the upcoming North American Society for the Study of Romanticism on the subject outlined below.
An Element of Egotism: Taking the Self out of the Sublime in Late Romanticism
In DeQuincey’s Romanticism, Margaret Russell shows how “the historical permutation of [minor] authorship…is necessarily also a symptom…that profits from the reflexivity it achieves by encoding an account of its own production” (133). Wordsworth’s The Prelude and Coleridge’s “Kubla Kahn,” are the most well-known exemplars of such reflexivity and such profit, but the minor poets who followed them, both in chronology and in style turned this element of reflexivity from “a symptom” to a feature: the whole show. Poets Ebenezer Jones and Alexander Smith particularly made careers out of the origin stories of their own careers turning useful background of successful cultural artifact, as in Coleridge’s “Man from Porlock” gloss, into background as cultural artifact, and successful ones too.
But this essay, which reads Smith’s and Jones’ early poems as attempts by working class (minor) writers to break into Russell’s succession of historical permutation by performing encoded reflexivity, also challenges the received notions about such writers: that they were fame-hungry strivers. It argues, rather, that their poems show a route around the egotistical sublime made so distasteful by Wordsworth. The fame which Keats so sought and Byron so basked in is rejected by their immediate poetic successors as unhealthy. Such grand rejections of authorship as personality, while still performing authorial struggle as spectacle, of course, made them famous.
Vine & Verse is sponsored through a partnership between Queen Anne Lutheran Church, Queen Anne Presbyterian Church, and Queen Anne Book Company; sensible places all, who have teamed up to make an evening of readings and tastings; this time on the subject of hope. I'll be the featured reader on Nov 6th. Come out if you can!
This event is free and open to the public.
Richard Hugo House and Seattle Pacific University School of Theology present:
Mischa Willett, poet and host of the podcast Poems for the People, and New Mexico-based poet Lauren Camp will read from their recent collections—both of which explore family and migration—followed by an onstage Q&A.
In her Dorset Prize-winning new collection, One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press), Lauren Camp explores the lives of a first-generation Arab-American girl and her Jewish-Iraqi parent. Camp tells overlapping stories of food and ritual, immigration and adaptation, evoking her father’s boyhood in Baghdad in the 1940s at a time when tensions began to emerge along ethnic and religious lines. She also draws upon memories of Sabbath dinners in her grandparents’ new home in America to reveal how family culture persists.
Mischa Willett, author of *Phases* (Cascade Books, 2017, Wipf and Stock Publishers) gives this year's Gates Reading, an annual series co-sponsored by the English Department at Seattle Pacific University and Image Journal, named in honor of longtime educator Fan Mayhall Gates.
SPU faculty and students established the Fan Gates reading series in 1999 to honor this well-loved professor and colleague after her retirement from the English dept. after 36 years. Funded by the Fan Mayhall Gates Literary Reading Series Endowment, the annual event spotlights prominent writers on the campus of Seattle Pacific.
The poems in *Phases* have been described by the poet Scott Cairns (Paraclete Press) as employing "a surprising linguistic brilliance to compose oratoria that brighten the hearts of readers," and by the poet Kevin J Craft (University of Washington Press) as "rub[bing] shoulders with classical figures and Biblical traditions, stoics and shepherds and sleep-deprived poets, the better to place the old stories in a contemporary light."
Copies of *Phases* can be ordered from Amazon.com or from Wipf and Stock Publishers.
The event is free and open to the public.