Workshop in Poetics
The Workshop in Poetics is concerned with the theoretical and practical dimensions of the reading and criticism of poetry. During the seven years of its existence, the Workshop has become a central venue at Stanford for sharing projects in a general conversation outside of disciplinary and national limits. Its core members are about twenty graduate students and several members of the Stanford faculty. Everyone is welcome.
The workshop's main purpose is to offer Ph.D. students a place to present their work in progress in a community of peers and faculty. Not bound by language or period, the group has discussed most of the literatures studied at Stanford.
Events follow several formats. The most common format is a discussion of work in progress by either a member of the group or a visiting speaker; for these events, the paper under discussion is circulated in advance. Some events concern the state of the field, identifying a topic or issue or a recent book for general discussion, often introduced by the author. A third category deals with neglected classics in poetics, usually books or articles that once were widely known but are now seldom found in curricula or criticism.
Student members find the workshop useful because it augments their coursework and dissertation writing with fresh perspectives and an attentive, often challenging community of interlocutors. Many advanced dissertations in the group have been discussed in two meetings, and in principle nearly every chapter by a member can find an occasion to be presented.
In 2010-11, Roland Greene and Nicholas Jenkins offered a graduate seminar, Poetics Then and Now, as a formal exploration of the group's interests. The course is likely to be offered again within two or three years.
One project for the coming year will be to explore connections with groups concerned with poetics at Chicago, Michigan, Brown, and Northwestern, including a joint meeting via video with one group and perhaps a common archive of materials.