Saturday, July 31, 2010

Breakthrough Nostalgia: Reading Steve McCaffery Then and Now

As Steve McCaffery approaches his mid-60s, his poetic and critical output shows no signs of abating. Within the last decade, in fact, McCaffery has produced five new collections of poetry, a new collection of critical essays, and three volumes of selected material: Seven Pages Missing Vols. 1 & 2, and Verse and Worse.
            Yet it has also been nearly 25 years since Open Letter’s first festschrift on McCaffery appeared, and both the critical community surrounding McCaffery’s work specifically, and of innovative writing in general, has changed dramatically. Thus, this new issue of Open Letter seeks to examine the changes in the reception of McCaffery’s work, as well has his own poetic development, over the last quarter century.
            Intended as a continuum from the first collection of Open Letter essays on McCaffery, this new gathering seeks critical essays (both scholarly and experimental) on any aspect of McCaffery’s criticism or poetry (including sound, visual, and performance poetry), with a particular interest in writing produced since 1990.
            Some points of departure, or lines of inquiry may include:
-         Reassessments of McCaffery early writing or analysis of recent writing
-         Is there a McCaffery canon? The significance of Teachable Texts, Carnival, or The Black Debt?
-         McCaffery and digital poetics: his inclusion in Poems for the Millennium Vol. 2 as a cyberpoet? Carnival: Panel 3 as his first self-identified digital work?
-         McCaffery collaborations (TRG, Nichol, The Four Horsemen, Mac Cormack)
-         McCaffery’s contributions to theories of translation, sound poetry, or pataphysics
-         McCaffery’s influence on writers, both younger and contemporary
-         The concept of nationality in McCaffery’s career: his international reputation or his interrogation of nationality in assessing literature?
-         McCaffery and trans-historicism: making the new old, or making the old new?
-         The critical and theoretical contributions of McCaffery to literary debate
Priority will be given to critical writing on McCaffery’s work, but submissions of poetry or visuals inspired by, or related to the work of, McCaffery will also be considered.
     Please send proposals/ intentions/ ideas to Stephen Cain by October 1st, 2010. Complete work will be requested by January 2011.