"What is a Poem?" Symposium

Friday, March 17, 2017
The Rotunda Dome Room
Free Admission


10am - Noon - Panel 1
     Roland Greene
         “Apollo Barroco: What Was a Poem in the Seventeenth Century?” 
     Anjali Nerlekar
         “The Poem and the Ocean-Encircled Earth" 
     Marjorie Perloff
         “Reading the Verses Backward: Poetry for the Digital Age” 
Noon - 1:30pm - Lunch Break

1:30pm - 3:30pm - Panel 2
     Stephen Burt
          "Shipping Containers"
     Nikki Skillman
          "The Song of the Harpies"
     Don Share
          "Why Poetry"
3:30pm - 4:00pm - Coffee - Rotunda Multipurpose Room, 1st Floor

4:00pm - 5:00pm - A Conversation with Rita Dove


Stephen (also Steph, or Stephanie) Burt is Professor of English at Harvard and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, most recently The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (Harvard UP, 2016). Their essays, reviews and poems appear in Boston Review, the London Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, and other journals in the US and UK; they spent the Southern summer (Northern winter) at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (1993-1995) and recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah. The author of numerous poetry books, most recently Sonata Mulattica (2009) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (2016), she also published a collection of short stories, a novel, a play and, as editor, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Among her many honors are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and 25 honorary doctorates, most recently from Yale University. Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.


Roland Greene is the Mark Pigott KBE Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. His work is concerned with the early modern literatures of England, Latin Europe, and the transatlantic world, and with poetry and poetics from the Renaissance to the present. His most recent book is Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (2013). He is editor in chief of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012). In 2015-16 he served as the 125th President of the Modern Language Association.


Anjali Nerlekar is Associate Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL) at Rutgers University, with research interests in global modernisms, Indian print cultures, Marathi literature, Indo-Caribbean literature, spatial and cartographic studies, and translation studies. She has published articles on the poetry of Arun Kolatkar, A. K. Ramanujan, Dilip Chitre, and David Dabydeen, among others, and has a book titled Bombay Modern: Arun Kolatkar and Bilingual Literary Culture (2016). In collaboration with Dr. Bronwen Bledsoe at Cornell University, she has also created an ongoing collection of documents and manuscripts related to English and Marathi Bombay poetry titled “The Bombay Poets’ Archive.”


Marjorie Perloff is Sadie D. Patek Professor of Humanities Emerita at Stanford University and Florence Scott Professor Emerita of English at the University of Southern California. She is the author of many books on 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics, including, Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters (1977), The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (1981), The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (1986, new edition, 1994), Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary (1996), 21st Century Modernism (2002), and Unoriginal Genius: Writing by Other Means in the New Century (2011). Her most recent book (April 2016) is Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire, which enlarges on the theme of her 2004 memoir The Vienna Paradox.


Don Share is the editor of POETRY. Among his eleven books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow), Union (Eyewear), and Bunting’s Persia (Flood Editions); he also edited a critical edition of Basil Bunting’s poems for Faber & Faber, named a 2016 Book of the Year by The Times of London. His translations of Miguel Hernández, awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize, were published in a revised and expanded edition by New York Review Books, and appeared in an earlier edition from Bloodaxe Books. Other books include Seneca in English (Penguin Classics), Squandermania (Salt), and The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of POETRY Magazine (University of Chicago Press), a sequel to which—Who Reads Poetry—will appear in 2017. He has received a VIDA “VIDO” Award for his contributions to American literature and literary community, and three National Magazine Awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors.


Nikki Skillman is Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching focus on modern and contemporary poetry in English, especially American poetry since World War II.  Her recent book, The Lyric in the Age of the Brain (Harvard University Press, 2016), explores how poets writing since the cognitive revolution have reframed the timeless problem of body and mind, at once cultivating and critiquing our tendency to regard the mind as a part of nature—as mechanistic, as chemically and evolutionarily determined, and as an object of science.  Her current research examines poetic strategies for evoking the feeling of injustice.