Symposium (Birmingham 2018)


On July 6, 2018, we happily, enthusiastically, curiously gathered for what would turn out to be a wonderfully collegial, warm, stimulating conversation among scholarly and artistic friends. We sat in a circle on that warm afternoon in Birmingham, sharing our work, past, present, and forthcoming, on New York School poetry. We were honoured to have poets within that circle, including Alice Notley and Edmund Berrigan, who generously partook in the discussions we were often having about their own work. Scholars old and new to the field engaged with scholarship old and new–and the field–to suggest that New York School studies is not so much an “emerging” subset of Avant-garde American poetry studies, but rather, an already silently established, thriving, intersectional, interdisciplinary, and often integral one.

We had conventional short-papers, lists of things we wished we could say, affectionally heated conversations about what has and had not been said, the rather stimulating query as to what we mean when we say “New York School,” collaborative poems as response, an entire and deeply moving evening of poetry readings to follow.

To borrow the words of the godfather Frank O’Hara:



and now there is a Glazunov symphony on the radio and I think of our

                friends who are not here, of John and the nuptial quality

                of his verses (he is always marrying the whole world) and

                Janice and Kenneth, smiling and laughing, respectively (they

                are probably laughing at the Leaning Tower right now)

but we are all here and have their proxy


We respectfully felt their proxy, and hope to continue the conversations that the symposium generated for years to come. For now, this note of (belated) thanks to the participants.


Below, the original CFP.





The symposium aims to enable and encourage the following (and more):

  • showcasing of new work
  • previewing of work-in-progress
  • revisiting and building on key work on the New York School
  • workshopping of research ideas/problems
  • sharing of resources
  • making new contacts within our field.

Talks: Speakers are asked to limit their talks to 5-10 minutes. Talks can be on anything relating to the symposium’s theme/aims (and can be as polished or informal as you like). The reason we ask for short talks, rather than conference papers, is because this symposium aims to cultivate conversation. Shorter talks will allow as much of the day as possible to be devoted to discussion, and will allow for a wide range of scholarly responses.

Where/when: the symposium will take place at Winterbourne House, University of Birmingham, starting at 9.30 and finishing at 5.00. Directions can be found here.

Food: a vegetarian lunch and refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits throughout the day) will be provided. We will also provide a pre-poetry snack in the evening.

Accessibility: The venue is accessible to wheelchair users. Detailed accessibility information can be found here.

Fee: there is no fee for the symposium.

Babies: if you need to bring a little one with you, please do!

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