Thinking through Louise Glück's Poetry

  • Datum: –16.00
  • Plats: Zoom (kontakta Torsten Pettersson för länk)
  • Arrangör: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen och Engelska institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Torsten Pettersson
  • Seminarium

Högre seminariet i litteraturvetenskap

The Politics of the Lyric "I": Thinking through Louise Glück's Poetry

A joint seminar hosted by the departments of Literature and English and chaired by Daniel Kane and Torsten Pettersson.

The lyric poem is as much defended as it is attacked for its assumption of a stable "voice" representing the thoughts and feelings of the poet writing it. Indeed, throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s the lyric "I" was often defined as inherently conservative, even oppressive. More recently, however, work by scholars including Gillian White see more progressive possibilities in the lyric. As White and others frame it, the lyric poem might offer a way revealing the lyric  "I" as a construct.

In light of Louise Glück's receiving the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature – and the accusations of racism and solipsism that greeted her from many quarters following her controversial Nobel acceptance speech – we propose a joint seminar hosted by the departments of Literature and English. Informed by the “Introduction” to Gillian White’s Lyric Shame: The “Lyric” Subject of Contemporary American Poetry (Harvard U P, 2014), participants are asked to consider a few poems of their choice by Louise Glück. Questions might include: What features in a poem point towards a certain kind of aesthetic and subjective stance? What are the aesthetic and political consequences of such stances? Does the lyric poem, as the Nobel committee and Glück herself propose, offer us an example of "universal" experience expressed by a discrete if visionary individual? If not, why not?

Gillian White’s Lyric Shame is available online through Uppsala University Library (consider pp. 1–41, esp. 1–26, and the notes on pp. 273–83). The following links offer further relevant and highly recommendable material: Gillian White, “Stand-Up Vampire [on the poetry of Louise Glück]” https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v35/n18/gillian-white/stand-up-vampire; Louise Glück, “Nobel Lecture” https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2020/gluck/lecture/; and the Swedish Academy’s presentation and of the poet and her achievement https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2020/bio-bibliography/. Her works are available in many forms, including the compendious and surprisingly cheap Poems 1962–2012 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012).