Modern Poetry and Poetics

At the University of Notre Dame, the English Department has developed a specialty in Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics that is not only a priority in the Department but recognized by leading colleagues in the field as among the best in the nation.  The preoccupations that distinguish us from other top programs include our strengths in researching transatlantic poetries (British and Irish as importantly as American) and our long tradition of valuing translation studies. Our Poetics group of doctoral students meets regularly to discuss ongoing work, and will number sixteen as of the autumn of 2010.  Faculty members working within the group include both scholars and creative writers – many of whom are both scholars and creative writers; the group studies with and is closely allied to MFA students in our highly-rated Creative Writing Program.  We run our events in tandem, and value conversations that merge theory and practice.

The library holdings in modern poetry and contemporary fiction are excellent and include an outstanding collection of ephemeral publications of particularly American, British and Irish poetry from the past fifty years.  We are always looking to expand our resources, and our graduate students are encouraged to help us by suggesting acquisitions.  Our latest news: Last year colleagues working closely with our librarians secured Robert Creeley’s copies of his own books (some in editions never made public) for our collection.

Lectures and Readings

Every semester members of the Poetics faculty invite leading poets and critics to Notre Dame to lecture, read and conduct or visit seminars.  Our events are often run in conjunction with other working groups like Text-Media Studies, The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Ph.D. in Literature Program (whose graduate students in comparative literature often join our seminars), the Global Modernisms Initiative (this year steered by two of our faculty, Johannes Göransson and Kate Marshall) and Letras Latinas, the literary program at the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS).  Graduate students interact closely with these guests, both in and out of the classroom.

Past visitors have included (alphabetically): Charles Altieri, David Antin, Caroline Bergvall, Charles Bernstein, R. M. Berry, Andrea Brady, Ciarán Carson, cris cheek, Robert Creeley, Victor Hernández Cruz, Bei Dao, Michael Davidson, Lydia Davis, Ed Dorn, Rikki Ducornet, Terry Eagleton (now a regular visitor, running a three-week seminar every semester), Clayton Eshleman, Martín Espada, Stanley Fish, Allen Ginsberg, N. Katherine Hayles, Seamus Heaney, Lyn Hejinian, Susan Howe, Michael Heller, Trevor Joyce, Linda Kinnahan, Hank Lazer, Frank Lentricchia, David Lloyd, Ben Marcus, David Marriott, Steve McCaffery, John Montague, Fred Moten, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Cathal O’Searcaigh Michael Palmer, Marjorie Perloff, D.A. Powell, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Arnold Rampersad, Herman Rapaport, Tom Raworth, Joan Retallack, Keston Sutherland, John Taggart, Keith Tuma.

For this coming semester, events have already been planned that include Marjorie Welish, Daniel Tiffany, Judith Goldman, Aaron Kunin, Evie Shockley, Kim Hyesoon, Don Mee Choi, Barbara Jane Reyes, Laura Solórzano, and Cathy Park Hong.

Doctoral students also have the opportunity to work behind the scenes and otherwise contribute to the various journals that are run from within the department or by faculty on campus, such as Notre Dame Review (edited by John Matthias), Action Books (edited by Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney), Momotombo Press and Latino Poetry Review (edited by Francisco Aragon), and Religion & Literature (edited by Susannah Monta).

  • The Open Light: A Celebration of Notre Dame Poets (2010)
  • Young British Poets (2009)
  • Jewish Poetics (2007)
  • Ward-Phillips Lectures: Charles Bernstein (2006)
  • Crisis and Detour: 25 Years of Today (Jintian) (2006)
  • The Long Reach of African-American Poetics (2005)
  • Textsounds: A Mini-Conference (2004)
  • &Now: A Festival of Writing as a Contemporary/Conceptual Art (2004)
  • Latino Poets Conference (2002)
  • Rethinking the Avant-Garde (2000) 
  • Literature between Philosophy and Cultural Studies (the American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting (1996)
  • Intersections of the Lyrical and the Philosophical (1994)