Michele Leggott, Lisa Samuels, and Robert Sullivan have put together a really exciting lineup for the “Short Takes on Long Poems” symposium to be held in Auckland from 28 to 30 March. Organized around Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s visit to New Zealand, the “Short Takes on Long Poems” symposium brings together poets and scholars from various corners of the Pacific rim, including Hawaii (Susan Schultz), Hong Kong (Lucas Klein), Australia (Hazel Smith, John Tranter, Kate Lilley, Philip Mead, Ann Vickery, and others), and of course from New Zealand (Cilla McQueen, Bernadette Hall, David Howard, Jack Ross, et al).
Before then, we’re also delighted to be welcoming Rachel Blau DuPlessis to the University of Otago in Dunedin, where she’ll be giving a lecture and a poetry reading on 5 and 6 March.
At the Auckland symposium, I’ll be weighing in with my own take on alternative measurements for the long poem: “Long, Wide, Deep, Heavy.” This experimental, ‘pataphysical paper will continue a line of inquiry into poetic quantity inspired in part by Dmitri Prigov’s conceptualist commitment to volume, as in his goal of writing 24,000 poems by the year 2000, one for each month of the past two millennia.
In A Common Strangeness, aside from Prigov (who considered his entire output to constitute a single vast work), I discuss several long poems, including Lyn Hejinian’s Oxota and a wonderful poem by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko entitled “Uzhin s privetlivymi bogami” (“A Supper with Affable Gods”), which has only ever been published in samizdat and––so far as I know––has never been translated. In A Common Strangeness, I’m interested in how the long poem form of Oxota and “Uzhin s privetlivymi bogami” affords the poets opportunities for staging cross-cultural encounters and for exploring correspondences and non-correspondences between their two languages and cultures.