Poetry and Poetics
Most of the faculty in this group have a serious commitment to thinking historically about poetic form, the pressures of occasion, or period, or tradition on the writing and reading of poems. That interest in the historicity of poems gives us a special interest in -- and enthusiasm for -- poetic avant-gardes, whether of the twenty-first century, the twentieth, or earlier. And since many of us are literary biographers, we have special interests not only in poets' poems, but in their prose, and especially when their prose takes a distinctly poetic turn. "But many of our interests transcend specifically historical concerns. We study the poem as an experience of sensuous sound (rhythm, euphony, the dream of onomatopoeia, voice and "voice") and the poem as a subject of abstract understanding (metrical pattern as a rule sometimes at odds with spoken rhythm, the psychoanalytics of figure, the way older poems haunt poets as they work, imitation and parody, the way forms mean, the claims of genre), the poem on the page (typography and white space; the relation of line to sentence, of stanza to poem, of poem to book), the poem on the screen.