CfP: International Conference on „Things in Poems – Poems of Things“

Date: 30th January – 2nd February 2019

Location: Charles University, Faculty of Arts

Languages of the conference: English, Czech (interpreting to English available)

The object-poem conference will explore the presence of things and the representation of objects in a wider scope, from Antiquity to contemporary poetry. Objects have been present in the oldest known poetry (e.g. Homer’s shield of Achilles). In modern times, the thing-poems appear in the works of post-symbolist, modernist and avantgarde poets. German critic Kurt Oppert addressed this penchant in 1926 when he coined the term Dinggedicht (object-poem, thing-poem in English) to label poems by Eduard Mörike, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer or Rainer Maria Rilke, and equally to contrast “an opposing type of poem based on non-personal, epic-objective description of certain being” with the prevalent subjective, experiential lyricism. This term was established and gradually came to designate the works of a number of other poets, such as the French poets Francis Ponge and Jean Follain or the American poet William Carlos Williams. The conference “Things in Poems – Poems of Things” aims to map the phenomena of things and objectivity within poetry from Antiquity through the present while reflecting on the philosophical concepts at hand as well as other art forms.

Presentations are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • the question of objects and things in poems, the rise of the modern object-poem as influenced by symbolism (thing-poem as a universal penchant in the twentieth century poetry);
  • the history of things in poetry: object-poems from Antiquity through contemporaneity, the tradition of ancient ekphrasis and its modern equivalents;
  • the function and meaning of objects within a poem (symbol, allegory, metaphor; a thing as a functional object, a thing for and in itself);
  • the manner of presentation and representation of things/objects: description, apostrophe, prosopopoeia; strategies of writing (about) things;
  • things and objects in poetry, visuality and fine art.

Proposals and deadline:

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words by 31st July 2018 to: dinggedicht@ff.cuni.cz

You will be notified of the decision by Wednesday 15th August 2018.

Conference fee: 40 EUR or 1000 CZK (approx. 47 USD).

For more information about invited speakers, travel, accommodation, etc. visit the conference website and Facebook page.