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Call for Papers:
Walt Whitman and William Blake

For almost two centuries, poets and critics, from Algernon Swinburne to Hart Crane, Allen Ginsberg, and Harold Bloom, have recognized William Blake and Walt Whitman as kindred poets and visionaries, fellow mystics, allied writers in the prophetic tradition. As Swinburne wrote in 1868, "The points of contact and sides of likeness,” between them are “so many and so grave, as to afford some ground of reason to those who preach the transition of souls.” However, only a few essays on Blake and Whitman have been published over the past 30 years. This collection aims to advance inquiry into Blake and Whitman’s likenesses beyond impressionism and beyond the terms—prophecy, mysticism, and (to a lesser extent) influence-- that have typically framed the rare critical considerations of the two poets in tandem.

A guiding premise of the volume is that the critical-historical barriers that have prevented more rigorous critical examinations of Blake and Whitman—for instance, that they wrote within different national traditions, that they weren’t contemporaries, that they are each idiosyncratic rather than representative—are for many scholars simply no longer operable. Transnational and transatlantic studies have effectively eroded the authority of literary studies oriented along nationalist lines, just as temporal studies and critical interrogations of practices of periodization have begun to question the logic of treating discrete slices of historical time as sovereign or coherent analytic units. Examining William Blake and Walt Whitman together promises to provide a showcase for a number of cutting-edge theoretical and methodological approaches while also, we hope, challenging those approaches to account for two of the most capacious, unruly, and elusive poets in the Anglo-American literary tradition.

We seek contributors who will examine links between Whitman and Blake that attend to a range of historical and formal specificities, as well as to alternative geographical, critical, and conceptual frameworks. We envision a series of examinations, explorations, and experiments that might fall under a handful of broadly suggestive categories reflective of some of the more vibrant areas of current critical interest: Queer Studies, Posthumanisms, Material Culture and Book History, Aesthetics, Historical Poetics, Democratic theory, race and gender studies. Accordingly, we plan to organize the collection under a handful of broadly suggestive categories reflective of these areas of study as well as some of the abiding themes and preoccupations of Blake and Whitman: “Atlanticisms,” “Embodiments,” “Temporalities,” “Intimacies and Attachments,” “Materialities,” “Democratic Vistas and Visions,” and “Afterlives.”

    Possible topics or approaches might include (but need not be limited to): ·

  • print culture and the material processes of book- and print-making
  • alternative modes of intimate and erotic attachment
  • experiences of embodiment
  • historical poetics and poetic form
  • the new aesthetics
  • modes of collective action and communal affiliation across barriers of race, class, and gender
  • working and loafing
  • the legacies of Blake and Whitman in the popular imagination

We have begun consultation with the editors of a new book series in nineteenth-century literary studies. So that we can produce a final proposal, please submit 500 word abstracts by July 1 to Robert Anderson (r2anders@oakland.edu) or Jeffrey Insko (insko@oakland.edu). Queries are welcome.

Speaking in Tongues:
Celebrating Walt Whitman in Translation

Université Paris-Est Créteil
June 13-14, 2019

This conference will celebrate the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth in truly plurilingual fashion and give maximum space to his poetry in languages other than English, while, for the sake of communication, speakers will be expected to give their papers in English. Among the many issues which could be addressed, separately or jointly, the following will be of particular interest:

  • the practice of writing poems addressed to or dealing with Whitman in languages other than English, and their dialogue with their literary and cultural environments;
  • the role played by translations in the reception of Whitman’s work in specific countries and cultures;
  • the impact of Whitman’s poetry (in English or in translation) on the development of non-English speaking poetry;
  • the possible interaction between Whitman translations in different languages;
  • the practice of retranslation;
  • the dissemination and teaching of Whitman in academic environments outside English-speaking countries;
  • research on Whitman in non-English speaking countries.

Speakers willing to take part in this conference are invited to send a two-hundred word abstract by September 15, 2018, to Éric Athenot (athenot.eric@orange.fr) and Graciela Villanueva (graciela.villanueva1@wanadoo.fr).

Project to save Walt Whitman's Ryerson Street house

The Walt Whitman Initiative (a group of New-York-area Whitman teachers, scholars, and writers), along with a team of historic preservationists (including Andrew Dolkart and Simeon Bankoff), lawyers (including Brad Vogel, Executive Director of the New York Preservation Archive Project), and the NYC LGBTQ Historic Sites Project, have formed a "Coalition to Save Walt Whitman's House" in an effort to draw attention to Whitman's historical home at 99 Ryerson Street, Brooklyn, and its need for protection and preservation.

Please help support their efforts to protect 99 Ryerson Street, Brooklyn—the only one of Whitman's over 30 homes in New York City that is still standing, and the house in which he completed Leaves of Grass. It is the birthplace of American poetry, and its humble appearance is both a shock and a lesson to anyone who thinks of literary culture as elitist.

Sign your name to the petition to designate the site a landmark and/or write directly to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (RFE@lpc.nyc.gov). Contact Karen Karbiener of New York University (kk55@nyu.edu) for other ways to help in this effort.

Calls for Papers on Whitman for the MLA 2019 conference

Three panels are currently looking for submissions:

American Lives: Whitman and Melville
At their bicentennial, we examine the challenges and rewards of writing the lives of Whitman and Melville. Who were they? Who, via scholarship, have they become? Deadline: 15 March 2018; John Matteson (matteson151@earthlink.net).

Whitman Bicentennial
In honor of Whitman's 200th birthday in 2019, seeking papers on new directions in Whitman studies or on Whitman in our new cultural moment. 300-word abstract by .docx or .pdf by 7 March 2018; Micah Bateman (micah.bateman@utexas.edu).

Whitman, the Sentimentalist
Is Walt Whitman truly “no sentimentalist?” This panel approaches Leaves of Grass as a sentimental text—structurally, generically, affectively, politically, philosophically. Full CFP by email request. 500-word abstract and CV by 1 March 2018; Erin Singer (esinger@latech.edu) and Zachary Turpin (zturpin@uidaho.edu).

International Whitman Seminar and Symposium 2018

The Eleventh Annual International Whitman Week Seminar.
TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany
28 May – 3 June, 2018

Invitation for Applications to the 11th Transatlantic Walt Whitman Seminar
Founded in Paris in 2007, the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA) invites students, researchers, and Whitman enthusiasts to participate in its 11th annual Whitman Week, consisting of a Seminar for students interested in Whitman and Whitman’s poetry, and a Symposium bringing together international scholars and graduate students. The Whitman Weeks started at TU Dortmund University, Germany (2008), and continued at Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France (2009), Università degli Studi di Macerata, Italy (2010), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Araquara, Brazil (2011), Szczecin University, Poland (2012), Northwestern University, Chicago, USA (2013), Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany (2014), Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany (2015), University of Exeter, England (2016) and Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France (2017). Ten years after its founding, the Whitman Week is returning to TU Dortmund. To reflect the past ten years, a special invitation is extended to previous participants in the program.

TWWA’s Mission
Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains a landmark of modern poetry and world literature. Every year new editions of Whitman’s work are published in a variety of languages; an ever-expanding group of poets “reply” to him in their poetry; his poems are set to music and are quoted in films; he is invoked in the discussion of political and cultural issues, as well as of gender and sexuality; and he continues to be a huge presence in college and university curricula globally. In order to respond adequately to this international phenomenon, TWWA sponsors a yearly International Whitman Seminar, during which students from different countries come together for an intensive, credit-bearing course taught by an international team of Whitman specialists.

Seminar Structure
In the morning classes, focusing on some of Whitman’s major poems and selections from his prose, students will have an opportunity to confront Whitman’s books, share their readings of key poems and clusters, and discuss Whitman’s cohesive representation of human relations and his work’s international significance. Afternoon translation workshops will focus on the reception of Whitman in various countries, as well as the translation of his poems into different languages.

Faculty
The team of international instructors of this year’s seminar were all formerly connected with TU Dortmund University, either as assistant professors (Jeanne Cortiel and Christine Gerhardt) or as Fulbright Professors (Betsy Erkkilä and Ed Folsom). Individuals interested in conducting a translation workshop are invited to contact the organizers.

Jeanne Cortiel, Professor of American Studies at Universität Bayreuth; author of Demand My Writing: Joanna Russ/Feminism/Science Fiction (1999), Passion für das Unmögliche: Befreiung als Narrativ in der amerikanischen feministischen Theologie (2001), and With a Barbarous Din: Race and Ethnic Encounter in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Literature (2016); co-editor of Religion in the United States (2011) and Sounds of the Future: Musical and Sonic Anticipation in American Popular Culture (2016).
Jeanne Cortiel was a Dortmund American Studies faculty member from 1994 until 2008.

Betsy Erkkilä, Professor of American literary and cultural studies at Northwestern University; author of Walt Whitman Among the French: Poet and Myth (1980) and Whitman the Political Poet (1996); co-editor, with Jay Grossmann, of Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies (1996); editor of Walt Whitman’s Songs of Male Intimacy and Love (2011). She is currently completing The Whitman Revolution: Why Poetry Matters.
Betsy Erkkilä was a Fulbright Professor at Dortmund American Studies in 2010.

Ed Folsom, Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa; co-director of the online Whitman Archive; editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review; author, co-author and editor of over 20 Whitman-related books, including, most recently, Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’: A Complete Commentary (2016), co-authored with Christopher Merrill, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas: A Facsimile of the Original Edition (2010), Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2007), co-authored with Kenneth M. Price, Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman (2005), and Whitman East and West: New Contexts for Reading Walt Whitman (2002).
Ed Folsom was a Fulbright Professor at Dortmund American Studies in 1996.

Christine Gerhardt, Professor of American Studies at Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg; author of A Place for Humility: Whitman, Dickinson, and the Natural World (2014) and Rituale des Scheiterns: Die Reconstruction-Periode im US-amerikanischen Roman (2003); editor of The American Novel of the Nineteenth Century (2017); and co-editor of Environmental Imaginaries on the Move: Nature and Mobility in American Literature and Culture (2016) and Religion in the United States (2011).
Christine Gerhardt was a Dortmund American Studies faculty member from 1994 until 2008.

Housing
International students will live together at no charge with Dortmund students, thus creating opportunities for meaningful intercultural dialogue.

Applications for the Seminar
Applications for the seminar should include a curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of interest, and a short letter of support from an instructor who knows the applicant well. All of these materials, including the letter of recommendation, should be submitted by e-mail to the Dortmund organizers, Walter Grünzweig (walter.gruenzweig@udo.edu), and Laura Kost (laura.kost@udo.edu) by February 1, 2018. If you have any questions about the International Whitman Week 2018, do not hesitate to contact the organizers at any time.

CFP: Poets That Came: Walt Whitman’s Creative Reception from Paper to Web
Symposium at TU Dortmund University, Germany
Friday, 1 June and Saturday, 2 June 2018

In his poem “Poets to come,” Walt Whitman addresses “orators, singers and musicians to come” to “arouse – for you must justify me – you must answer.” Throughout the world and throughout the arts, creative minds have enthusiastically answered Whitman’s call. Although anthologies such as Ed Folsom’s, Dan Campion's, and Jim Perlman’s Walt Whitman – The Measure of His Song have documented the pervasiveness of Whitman’s reception in American poetry and many studies exist for other genres and arts as well as other countries, no single symposium has as yet been devoted to the wide international creative reception of Whitman’s works – from poetry and prose, translation, painting and music, to film, advertising and the World Wide Web, in the U.S. as well as countries and languages in all parts of the world.

This symposium invites scholars and artists from all fields to contribute to this inter-arts and international phenomenon. As part of the symposium, a student research poster session for attending students on any topic dealing with Whitman is planned.

One-page abstracts of paper proposals should be sent electronically, no later than February 1, 2018, to all four symposium organizers:

Stephanie M. Blalock: stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu
Wendy Katz: wkatz2@unl.edu
Kenneth M. Price: kprice2@unl.edu
Julia Sattler: julia.sattler@udo.edu

Call for Papers: Walt Whitman and the Press

Whitman Studies Association panel at the 29th annual conference of the American Literature Association (2018).

From Walt Whitman’s early work as a journalist to (self)-representations of his life and writings in contemporary periodicals, America’s poet had and continues to have a complex relationship to the press. Whitman relied on and actively employed the press to bolster his reputation and celebrity status, used his position as editor and journalist to forward his political views, boldly voiced his ideas about the importance of a free press while also occasionally screaming “fake news,” and feuded quite publicly with newspaper editors, politicians, and administrators. This panel will be dedicated to examining any aspect of Whitman’s relationship to or portrayal within the press.

We are especially interested in papers that discuss: (1) Whitman’s ideas about the press and its role in the American Republic; (2) Whitman’s relationship with specific periodicals and journalists; (3) Whitman’s experimentation with journalistic genres and boundaries; (4) Visual or written portrayals of Whitman in the press (past or present), including those by Whitman himself; (5) The relationship between Whitman’s journalism and his poetry and prose; (6) The circulation of works by or about Whitman in the national and international press.

Please send one-page abstracts electronically no later than January 12, 2018 to the panel chairs Stephanie M. Blalock (stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu) and Stefan Schöberlein (stefan-schoeberlein@uiowa.edu).

The conference will take place from May 24-27, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, CA. For more information about the 2018 ALA conference, see the conference website.

Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman available

Ed Folsom’s catalog/commentary for the Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman symposium and exhibition held at The University of Iowa in 2005 is now available for purchase from WWQR. The book is 80 pages, with over a hundred full-color illustrations of Whitman’s books. Folsom’s commentary explores Whitman as a bookmaker, as someone fully invested in the creation of his books. Tracing Whitman’s career as a printer and bookmaker from his early years in New York to his final years in Camden, New Jersey, Folsom has created what Joel Myerson in a review has described as “much more that the record of an exhibition—it is a biography of Whitman that will stand the test of time.” “Reversing [the] usual perspective,” writes Myerson, “Folsom focuses on Whitman’s print career to tell us about his life, both internal and external,” and, “in so doing, he overturns many critical assumptions about Whitman’s writings.” The book was published by The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and a limited number of copies are available for $15 (includes shipping). Checks should be made out to "WWQR" and sent to: Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 308 EPB, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1492.