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Convergence on Poetics

Year of Funding: 

September 27-30, 2012
North Creek Event Center
University of Washington, Bothell

Convergence on Poetics queries the current understanding and practice of poetics within writing communities and the academy. The conference consists of keynote panels, poetics postings, and author performances. All events will be scheduled singularly, so that a conversation of the whole can address, in the words of George Oppen, “the meaning / Of being numerous.”

Poesis can be defined most broadly as making and poetics as a study of making. While poesis and poetics have been important for the areas of literary studies, creative writing, textual and discourse studies, among others, their larger area of concern—i.e. making itself—crosses multiple arts and disciplines. Indeed, it is the emphasis on making, or construction, which creative arts (and other creative projects) base much of their claim for cultural significance, since in making new relations can pertain which ratiocinative approaches to knowledge formation often silence.
Poetics has far more often addressed the “how” of a text than its “what”—how work is produced, how it is disseminated, and how it is consumed. Roland Barthes remarks: “[poetics] can never be a science of content, but only of the conditions of content. “ Its aim is to “know how meaning is possible, at what cost and by what means.” But while Barthes statement of poetics remains an important vantage on poetics, our own time yields a different set of questions and tensions that can be loosely grouped through the category of “what.” The poet Robert Creeley once remarked, “Form is never more than an extension of content.” By this comment, Creeley did not seek to undermine the importance of poetic form, but rather to suggest that form and content exist in a dynamic relationship.
The conference asks how the synergistic relations between “the what” and “the how” of the texts, art objects, and performances might be brought into sharper focus. Basic questions will be posed: How might poetics refashion itself within an interdisciplinary context that includes multiple arts and multiple disciplines? Is poetics just another discipline along with other disciplines or something rather different than these? What challenges do poetics face from diverse disciplinary practices? And what challenges do poetics pose for multiple areas of study?

Additional Information

For information regarding conference schedule, registration, and submitting proposals, visit the Convergence website.  
UW Bothell is located just west of Interstate 405 at Exit 24. Further directions are available online.
This conference is supported by the UW Bothell’s MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, UW Simpson Center for the Humanities, UW Graduate School, UW Bothell’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell’s Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and UW Bothell’s Teaching and Learning Center. 



  • Charles Altieri
  • Marie Annharte
  • Charles Bernstein
  • Amaranth Borsuk
  • Rebecca Brown
  • Tisa Bryant
  • Rebecca Cummins
  • Michael Davidson
  • Sarah Dowling
  • Rachel Blau DuPlessis
  • Kathleen Fraser
  • Elisabeth Frost
  • Carla Harryman
  • Lyn Hejinian
  • Jeanne Heuving
  • Ted Hiebert
  • Cynthia Hogue
  • Bhanu Kapil
  • Clark Lunberry
  • Joe Milutis
  • Aldon Nielsen
  • Peter O'Leary
  • Candice Rai
  • Brian Reed
  • Leonard Schwartz
  • Evie Shockley
  • Ron Silliman
  • Barrett Watten
  • Tyrone Williams
  • Lissa Wolsak

A conference poster is also available for download.