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Poetry, Politics, and Embodiment

If, as is understood by the faculty, much of the anxiety about contemporary poetry can be described as an identity crisis—if it is a struggle between the old and the new cast as one having to do with voice, theme, and tradition—then who can inherit the future of poetry is cut along gendered and racialized lines.

We begin from the supposition that poetry is a radical refutation of the world-as-it-is, and as such, is and has been the province of minoritized peoples.

We will spend two weeks thinking together about poetry as a vehicle of liberation and protest; about subjectivity and embodiment as poetry’s context; and about how race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability pressurize aesthetic categories.

What does the Program Offer?

This residency offers space to think, theorize, and write about the grammatical; about the I and we of poems; about breaking from inheritance and tradition in the name of justice, revenge, and revolution for the marginalized. Emphasis will be placed on witness and testimony as well as politics and cultural criticism as key modalities of today’s poetic impulse.

We will concentrate as much on the writing of poems as the theoretical foundation that makes the writing possible in the first place. Think Dionne Brand’s left-handed pages in The Blue Clerk. Think the statues of the architects of colonialism doused in red paint. Think of a poetry reading on the rez where everyone is a poet and nothing feeds into the engines of publicity.

Who Should Apply?

Poets who are exploring themes of self and subjectivity in their writing are encouraged to apply. This program is an ideal fit for poets who are exploring identity; the grammar of identity, gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability; the individual and collective; contemporary poetry; poetry as protest and activism; and the effects of state-sanctioned oppression on art.

Accepted applicants will receive a reading list in advance of the program and may be asked to submit a sample of pages/poems from their works in progress. These details will be shared with accepted applicants shortly after the adjudication and confirmation process has been completed.

Application Deadline: January 8, 2020
Dates: April 6 – 18, 2020

For more information and to apply online, visit banffcentre.ca.

NDN Coping Mechanisms – Notes from the Field – Billy-Ray Belcourt (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize) – Mercenary English

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