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Futures of Poetics

“Imagen de Yagul,” from Ana Mendieta’s series Silueta Works in Mexico,1973-1977


Poetics, as a set of critical attentions that bridge periods and languages, has entered a lively moment of renovation and renewal. Addressing the changing field, Futures of Poetics is an quarterly working group that convenes to discuss recent & works in progress by faculty from Northwestern (and at large) who are pioneering new approaches to the study of poetry and poetics; works in progress by Northwestern graduate students, such as potential article submissions and dissertation chapters; and readings in poetology dedicated to generating fresh, ecumenical accounts of key issues and emergent idioms for poetics scholarship in the 21st century. This series emphasizes scholarship on the recent and distant past as well as the contemporary moment, but our orientation is prospective, geared toward open questions, undigested archives, and works in progress.

Upcoming Events

December 2nd, 2019, 12:30pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)

Stopgap: A reading and conversation with Isaac Ginsberg Miller

We will be discussing Isaac’s newly released chapbook Stopgap (winner of the 2018 Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Chapbook Contest), which he will read from, followed by a conversation. We have a limited number of copies of his book on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP to Isaac’s email: to reserve a copy (once the physical copies are reserved a .pdf version will be made available). See below for a brief description of the book.

Past Events

November 12th, 2018, 5-8pm, Kresge 2-350

Graduate Reading Group (with Black Poetics Collective): Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin, followed by a brief writing workshop and reception. For a copy of the pdf. please contact Michell Nicole Miller (  

October 27th, 2017, 2-3:30pm, Kresge 3535
Graduate Reading Group: Susan Stewart, “Voice and Possession,” and Giorgio Agamben “Pascoli and the Thought of the Voice.” For a copy of the paper please contact Isaac Ginsberg Miller (

February 22th, 2017, 5pm, Kresge 3354
Works in Progress: Christopher Davis,”Hybrid Harmony: The Poetics of Discord and the Language of Songs from Troubadours to Dante.” For a copy of the paper please contact Rickey Fayne (

November 11, 2016, 12:30pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Works in Progress: Tristram Wolff, Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literary Studies, Northwestern University, “Lyric Exposure, Literary Embarrassments: Keats & Rankine on Feeling Too Much.” With a response by Toby Altman, PhD Candidate in English Literature, Northwestern University. (For reading, contact Harris Feinsod or Rickey Fayne)

October 13, 2016, 12:30pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Graduate Reading Group: A discussion of Stephen Burt’s “Is American Poetry Still a Thing?” Co-organized with the American Cultures Colloquium.

February 19, 2016, 1-2pm, CLS Seminar Room (Crowe 4-130)
Graduate Reading Group: Graduate students in the Comparative Literary Studies program Arif Camoglu, Taymaz Mohammad and Azadeh Safaeian introduce and discuss poetry from late 19th and early 20th century in Iran and Turkey.

January 13, 2016, 5:15pm
Graduate Reading Group: Poetry and Religion Workshop with PhD students Alanna Hickey, Ean High, and Miranda Smith

May 21, 2015, 5:15pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Works in Progress: Toby Altman, PhD Candidate, English Literature, Northwestern: “‘lines to time’: Periodization, Collaboration, and Jen Bervin’s Diachronic Poetics”. With a response by Chris Shirley, Visiting Assistant Professor of English.

February 19, 2015, 5:00pm, Comp. Lit. Seminar Room (Crowe 4-130)
Graduate Reading Group: “What is a Poem?”
Please join us for a Futures of Poetics workshop, where we will discuss two companion pieces under the dynamic rubric: “What is a Poem?” The two readings include 1) the entries for “Poem,” “Poet” and “Poetry” from the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, and 2) the first chapter from Octavio Paz’s book of essays The Bow and the Lyre. For a copy of the papers please contact Todd Nordgren (

January 29, 2015, 5:00 pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Works in Progress: Christopher Nealon, Professor of English, Johns Hopkins University, “Poetry and the Price of Value”

November 13, 2014 12:30pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Works in Progress:  Katie Hartsock, PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature, Northwestern: “‘Through Fire I See It’: First Person Poetics of the Revisionary Mode,” from her dissertation titled “The Past Like Never Before: Classical Women and Revisionary Poetry.” With a response by Laura Passin, Visiting Assistant Professor of English.

April 10, 2014 12:30pm, Comparative Literature Seminar Room (Crowe 1-125)
Works in Progress: Alanna Hickey, PhD Candidate, English, Northwestern: “The Forms of National Belonging: Occasional Verse, Race, and Citizenship in Gold Rush California.” With a response by Ivy Wilson, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies.

March 10, 2014 5:15pm, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Seminar Room
Works in Progress: Ira Murfin, PhD Candidate, IPTD, Northwestern: “David Antin’s Talk Poetics: Talking Text and Texting Talk.” With a response by Jacob Smith, Associate Professor, R/TV/F, Northwestern.

November 13, 2013 5:15pm, Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)
Reading Group: Debating the Lyric: Readings from Virginia Jackson and Jonathan Culler.

April 11, 2013 5:30 p.m., MG51, Technological Institute

Virtual Reading Group: Digital Poetics. Videoconference reading group meeting with Stanford’s Workshop in Poetics. Readings of Marjorie Perloff, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Johanna Drucker.

April 15, 2013 3:00 p.m., Crowe 1-135

Works in ProgressGayle Rogers (Pitt) presents a chapter from his new book project, Between Literary Histories: Translation, Bilingualism, and Modernist World Literature. For more information, see our page.

January 28, 2013 5:00 p.m., Room 118, University Hall

Graduate Reading Group: In conjunction with the visit of Erica Hunt and Harryette Mullen

October 23, 2012 5:00 p.m., Hagstrum Room, University Hall

Graduate Reading Group: Native/Indigenous Poetics. Readings of Mary Austin, Jerome Rothenberg, and Robert Dale Parker. In conjunction with the visit of Cedar Sigo.

April 18, 2012 5:30 p.m., Hagstrum Room, University Hall.

Graduate Reading Group: Diasporic Poetics and the Black Arts Movement. In conjunction with the visit of Keorapetse Kgositsile.

March 8, 2012 12:30 p.m, Hagstrum Room, University Hall.

Works in Progress: John Alba Cutler (Northwestern) presents “Individualism, Lyric Subjects, and Sandra Cisneros’s Wicked Wicked Ways,” a chapter from his current book manuscript on contemporary Chicano literature. Suzanne Bost (Loyola University Chicago) will act as respondent.

February 1, 2012 5:00 p.m., Hagstrum Room, University Hall.

Graduate Reading Group: Toward a theory of queer poetics. Readings of Sedgwick and Irigaray. In conjunction with the Queer(ing) Poetics Symposium with Nathalie Stephens/Nathanaël and Ronaldo V. Wilson.

The Futures of Poetics series sustains the ambitions of the roundtable discussions (on translation theory and lyric theory) from 2009-10, around which the group first coalesced.