Virginia Jackson Lectures on "Becoming Lyric"

April 19, 2018

Please join us on Thursday, April 19 at 5pm in Minor 125 for a Distinguished Lecture in Poetry & Poetics. Virginia Jackson, UCI Endowed Chair of Rhetoric and Critical Theory in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at UC Irvine, will give a talk on “Becoming Lyric” based on her influential work in historical poetics over the past two decades. Jackson's talk will trace the increasing capaciousness of the term “lyric” over the past few centuries, inviting us to contemplate the power and limits of this omnivorous generic category.

Virginia Jackson is UCI Endowed Chair of Rhetoric and Critical Theory in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at UC Irvine. She is the author of Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading (Princeton UP, 2005), which won the Christian Gauss Prize and the MLA Prize for a First Book. She is the editor of On Periodization: Selected Essays from the English Institute (ACLS E-Book, 2010; Meredith McGill, series editor) and, with Yopie Prins, the co-editor of The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014). Her next book, Before Modernism: The Invention of American Poetry is forthcoming from Princeton UP. Her essays in historical poetics have appeared in PMLAMLQVictorian PoetryStudies in RomanticismNineteenth-Century Literature, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. In her current project, she is thinking about versions of nineteenth-century America in the work of a few contemporary black poets in the US. She is one of the founding members of the Historical Poetics working group (

"Poetry and the World" Features Renowned Poets, Critics

April 6, 2018

Please join us Friday, April 6 for “Poetry and the World,” a symposium hosted by the Center for Poetry & Poetics. This event will bring to grounds a group of internationally renowned poets and scholars for a day of panel presentations and interactive discussion. It will conclude with a poetry reading and reflection by the British poet Daljit Nagra, whose Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the 2007 Forward Poetry Prize for the best first collection.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Nau Hall Auditorium


Detailed schedule here:

Jonathan Culler Lectures on "Theory of the Lyric"

October 26, 2017

Please join us on Thursday, October 26 at 5pm in Nau 101 for the inaugural Distinguished Lecture in Poetry & Poetics. Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University, will give a talk on “Theory of the Lyric” based on his recent important book of the same name. 

"What sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric—the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry—both of which neglect what is most striking and compelling in the lyric and falsify the long and rich tradition of the lyric in the West. Jonathan Culler explores alternative conceptions offered by this tradition, such as public discourse made authoritative by its rhythmical structures, and he constructs a more capacious model of the lyric that will help readers appreciate its range of possibilities.

"Theory of the Lyric constitutes a major advance in our understanding of the Western lyric tradition. Examining ancient as well as modern poems, from Sappho to Ashbery, in many European languages, Culler underscores lyric’s surprising continuities across centuries of change—its rhythmical resources, its strange modes of address, its use of the present tense, and the intriguing tension between its ritualistic and fictional dimensions. He defends the idea of lyric as a genre against recent critiques, arguing that lyrics address our world rather than project a fictional world and also challenging the strongly established assumption that poems exist to be interpreted. Theory of the Lyric concludes with a discussion of how to conceive the relations between lyric and society in ways that would acknowledge and respond to lyric’s enduring powers of enchantment."


"What is a Poem?" Symposium Kicks Off Poetry Center

March 17, 2017

“What Is a Poem?” is the inaugural symposium of the Center for Poetry & Poetics. Is a poem more like a song or a shipping container? What was a poem in the seventeenth century, and what is it in the digital age? Why poetry, anyway? Join our world-class speakers as they explore these and other questions. The symposium will conclude with a conversation with former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove.


Friday, March 17, 2017

The Rotunda Dome Room


Detailed schedule here: