The Poetry & Poetics Colloquium (PPC) is the principal forum for cross-disciplinary, transhistorical scholarship on poetics at Northwestern, as well as a collection of arts initiatives that support the practice of poetry on campus and beyond. Founded in 2009, the colloquium regularly convenes a group of core faculty and graduate students who share an interest in the long and varied traditions of poetry and poetics across languages and historical eras. Premier contemporary poets from around the world have participated in our lively reading series, including Cecilia Vicuña (Chile), Victor Hernández Cruz (Puerto Rico), Craig Santos Perez (the Pacific Island of Guåhan), Raúl Zurita (Chile), Christian Bök (Canada), Nikky Finney (US), Keorapetse Kgositsile (Southa Africa), Nathaniel Tarn (France), and many others. The reading series is supplemented by a lecture series in which leading theoreticians of poetry discuss their current work. Recent visitors include Marjorie Perloff (US), Clare Cavanagh (US), Derek Attridge (UK), and many others. Relatedly, a “futures of poetics” working group meets regularly to discuss works-in-progress and readings in poetics scholarship across a broad array of world societies and U.S. cultural margins. Beyond our reading series, the PPC also supports poetry as a living art through a fast-growing collection of partnerships: with Northwestern University Press, we sponsor the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize, a first book prize for emerging poets of color; with Evanston Township, we offer a “poetry in the schools” program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to teach poetry to community youth.
Photograph by John Keene