Unlike many of the beautifully-preserved Moravian buildings of Bethlehem, PA, H.D.’s childhood home did not survive. On the site now stand the City Hall and, perhaps fittingly, the Bethlehem Area Public Library. In September 2017, United for Libraries named the site one of 160 literary landmarks. For a local newspaper story about the dedication, see The Morning Call‘s “Literary Landmark in Bethlehem Named in Honor of Hilda Doolittle.”
“Passages”: The Robert Duncan Centennial Conference at the Sorbonne Université, Paris, June 12-14 2019, welcomes papers on the H.D./Duncan connection (The H.D. Book, the correspondence, etc.) among many other possible topics. Anyone who remembers the 2013 H.D. and Modernity Conference in Paris will remember many of these conference organizers as well.
“I am speaking now of the Dream in which America sleeps, the New World, moaning, floundering, in three hundred years of invasions, our own history out of Europe and enslaved Africa.”—Robert Duncan, Ground Work
American poet Robert Duncan would be turning 100 in January 2019. With his direct address to his contemporaries and the broad forces and structures—psychological, political, cosmological—at work in the world, and with his aspiration to write a holistic “grand collage” sweeping up all possible inputs to his poetry, it could be argued that we need Duncan’s work and his vision now more than ever.
Duncan’s work on a poetry and poetics of “passages,” in particular, remains key. The “Passages” poems spatialize poetry as an “area of composition,” embrace discontinuity and incompletion (they remain part of a work always “larger than the book in which they appear”) and seek intertextual and psycho-social connection at every moment of their unfolding.
Radically open, Duncan’s work thus calls for re-engagement—for the following of new connecting passages through and out of his work, for drawing new poetic passages from a resource that remains inexhaustibly “beyond.” This is all the more important since Duncan’s creative heterodoxy eschews habitual notions of genealogy or tradition. Because his is a rare case of great relevance which does not easily translate into lineage, it seems most appropriate that one should now turn to Duncan, standing as we are today Before the War and In the Dark, and listen to the cadence of his verse anew.
The Paris Conference, as a centennial celebration of Robert Duncan’s works, invites proposals from scholars and poets. Possible topics may include:
Organizers: Hélène Aji (Université Paris Nanterre), Stephen Collis (Simon Fraser University), Xavier Kalck (Sorbonne Université), James Maynard (University at Buffalo), Clément Oudart (Sorbonne Université)
Cynthia Hogue’s poet’s essay, “On being ‘ill’-informed: H.D.’s late modernist poetics (of) d’espère,” appears in Jacket2, July 9, 2018.
This essay spans H.D.’s poetry and prose, from Trilogy and By Avon River to The Sword Went Out to Sea, Helen in Egypt, Vale Ave, Hirslanden Notebooks, and Hermetic Definition. Hogue combines disability studies and feminist poetics to explore the later years of H.D.’s career.
CFP: Graphic Eroticism in Women’s Modernism
This panel seeks to examine graphic eroticism in its myriad modernist forms. From the graphically risque or taboo to the textual representations of non-normative sex and sexuality in poetry and prose, modernist women writers often embedded eroticism within their literary experiments. With H.D., for instance, her letters describe trips to erotica shops in Vienna to find pornographic photos for Bryher and the pressure she received from publishers to write a tell-all memoir about her relationship with Ezra Pound and other male modernists, while her prose and poetry codify seduction and sexual encounters in less literal, though no less “graphic” ways. This panel encourages explorations of the relationship between the explicit, the erotic, and the graphic in the queer, straight, and mixed networks of women modernists. We welcome papers that interrogate modernist eroticism through a women-centered lens and that move past critical models of “romantic thralldom” or gendered revision in their approaches to gender, sex, and sexuality.
While sponsored by the H.D. International Society, the panel welcomes proposals that address a range of women modernists. Consider scholarship like Jeanne Heuving’s The Transmutation of Love and Avant-Garde Poetics (U Alabama 2016), Miranda Hickman’s The Geometry of Modernism (U Texas 2005), Susan McCabe’s Cinematic Modernism (Cambridge UP 2005), Diana Collecott’s H.D. and Sapphic Modernism 1910-1950 (Cambridge UP 1999), Cassandra Laity’s H.D. and the Victorian Fin de Siecle (Cambridge UP 1996), not to mention work by Cynthia Hogue, Rachel Blau du Plessis, Eileen Gregory, and many more.
Please send a 250 to 300 word proposal with short bio to Celena Kusch (email@example.com) by April 7, 2018.
One new review of H.D. Scholarship came out this autumn.
Rebecca Bowler reviewed Lara Vetter’s A Curious Peril in The Review of English Studies published 8 Dec. 2017. In the past, she also reviewed Matte Robinson’s The Astral H.D. in Literature and Theology (Dec. 2017 issue).
The H.D. International Society will again be sponsoring a panel at the American Literature Association conference, May 24-27, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, CA. The call for paper proposals is open ended, although projects working with some aspect of H.D.’s later writing or new approaches to teaching H.D. would be particularly welcome given the recent publications of H.D. editions and their scholarly framings. Please send a brief paper proposal (250 words) along with a short biography/CV to Celena Kusch, firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than January 25, 2018.
For further information, please consult the ALA annual conference website at http://americanliteratureassociation.org/ala-conferences/ala-annual-conference/
Michael Boughn’s new poetry collection, Hermetic Divagations – After H.D. (Swimmers Group, 2017) embraces the poetic method of H.D.’s Hermetic Definitions to arrive at a wholly new reflection on the many questions H.D. posed about war, love, spirituality, and survival–questions that retain their relevance for us today. Michael Boughn is the author of several books of poetry, including Cosmogrophia: A Post-Lucretian Faux Micro Epic (2010), which was nominated for the Governor General Award.
“Michael Boughn’s Hermetic Divagations is a luminous book of gratitude and persistence. Boughn weaves H.D.’s traditions, motifs and words in his own poised lines, examining a resonant image hoard—flame, angel, amber, lotus, worm, and owl, and thereupon continually re-discovering female figures emanating poise, eros and blessing amid confusion and depredation. “Then she is there” is a repeated realization. The work is at once a poetics of rumination evoking immanent presence and a meditation on the acts of war and rancor that harass grace. Hermetic Divagations is a serious and lucid reworking of questions of civilization where “dung and myrrh // mingle with air and fear,” yet where one persists in seeking the “hidden entrance in a world // of restricted visibility.” – Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Two recent articles focus on H.D.’s contributions to the visual arts through her elaborate embroidery projects.
This month’s Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform features “Mind the Gap! Modernism and Feminist Praxis.” Articles by Madelyn Detloff, Anne Fernald, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, and Ewa Ziarek take up the issue from a range of perspectives. Kennedy-Epstein’s “The Spirit of Revolt: Women Writers, Archives and the Cold War” begins with a curricular debate about the role and literary heft of H.D. in modernist studies today. Her defense of H.D. and other modernist women writers is wide-ranging and offers a compelling argument for ensuring that women writers feature prominently in the literary landscape.
We invite paper proposals for a panel the H.D. International Society is organizing at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, February 22-24, 2018. What we have said before about the conference remains true, that it is a
very welcoming and invigorating conference that features research presentations and work by creative writers. It is hosted yearly by the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY and sustained by the organizing efforts of Alan Golding. For more information, please see the attached CFP from the conference organizers and note that the confirmed keynote speakers for 2018 are terrific, yet again: M. NourbeSe Philip, Dominic Pettman, and Brent Hayes Edwards. For more information on the conference, visit http://www.thelouisvilleconference.com/.
The call for papers for our panel is open: we are happy to consider work attending to any aspect of H.D. and/or her circle as we field a cohesive panel.