Women Poets and Myth (20th and 21st centuries):
Myth, Community and the Environment
Colloquium, 19–20 April 2018
EXTENDED DEADLINE: Monday February 26, 2018
There is a long tradition of poetry by women in which the engagement of the poem with history and myth gave rise to crucial artistic and social constructions that illuminated an era –from Christine de Pizan (14th c) to Sor Juana Ines, from Gabriela Mistral to Carol Ann Duffy-, re-imagined countries and borders, created community across differences and re-created livable worlds. The consequences of those poetics did not go unnoticed in the grand design of women’s poetry and of poetry at large. Their effects show both in poetic aspects and in wider socio-historical formations. In general terms, their poetries underscore community based change.
In recent years, there has been an increasing concern with the continuous human aggressions to the planet. The hazards of ecological disaster together with natural catastrophes and climate change, have been crucial in the exploration of new avenues for contestation to the current state of degradation of the planet. Some of the best contemporary poetry by women turns to nature renegotiating the relationship of the self under late capitalism and the physical world. The move is certainly a forceful response to an indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, lethal pollution of the air, ocean, and earth, and irreversible damage to life. Mother Earth is no longer an inexhaustible repository of resources. In traditional anthropomorphic representation, the goddess is no longer a bountiful, protective force for all life on earth.
At present, women’s poetry dramatizes the urge for conservation and sustainability as well as a communal sense of interaction between the human and the natural. Language, geography, history and nature are no longer understood as separate categories, they come together as part of our complete lived experience.
In our colloquium, we would like to raise a series of questions for discussion such as, why myth still holds such attraction –in the 20th and 21st centuries– for the woman poet? To what extent the engagement with myth contributes to the transformation of society? Is myth still a cohesive element in our societies, or should we understand its persistence as a sign of the past? To what extent does myth assist in raising awareness to an endangered planet at risk? Does myth, still alive, exhibit the vigour and energy in the work of women poets it used to do before? Does myth have pedagogical value? And, finally, is myth –with special reference to community and the environment– still a crucial referent in poetry and intellectual production at present?
Deadline for submission of abstracts and short bios for brief position papers:
NEW DEADLINE: Monday February 26, 2018
Facultad de Filología, Universidad Complutense, Madrid.