Concrete Poetry Conference in Honor of Robert Lax: Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 2017

St. Bonaventure University in Robert Lax’s hometown of Olean, NY, will be honoring him March 31-April 1, 2017 with a conference called  Never Abolish Chance: The Concrete Poetry Conference.

Poets and critics who were part of the Concrete Poetry movement in the later part of the 20th century embraced Lax as a kind of forefather and included his work in books and articles about the movement.  This helped to bring his work greater attention, including more serious critical study.

The keynote speakers for the conference will be John Beer, Renee Gladman, and Evie Shockley.

John Beer is the editor of poems (1962-1997), a selection of Robert Lax’s  poetry published by Wave Books in 2013.  His own works of poety include The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books, 2010), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America; a chapbook, Lucinda (Spork Press, 2013); and the full-length verse novella of Lucinda (Canarium Books, 2016).

Renee Gladman‘s works of prose include Juice (Kelsey Street Press, 2000), The Activist (KRUPSKAYA, 2003), Newcomer Can’t Swim (Kelsey Street Press, 2007), and To After That (Toaf) (Atelos, 2008). Her recent title include Calamities (Wave Books, 2016), and the Ravicka novels Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013). In 2014-2015 she was a fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she worked on Prose Architectures, an interdisciplinary project exploring the continuum between sentences and drawings. Gladman has taught at several U.S. universities, most extensively as a professor of creative writing at Brown University from 2006-2014.

Evie Shockley is the author the new black, winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, a half-red sea, and a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (Iowa University Press, 2011). Her honors include the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize, fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and residencies at Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Shockley is an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ.


Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers or 500-word abstracts for panels/roundtables to Proposals will be accepted until January 10. Accepted participants will be notified by January 25.