Cfp La poésie contemporaine, les médias et la culture de masse / Contemporary poetry, media, mass culture

Contemporary poetry, media, mass culture

ELTE, Budapest, 19-21 September 2019

In Western culture, from the Middle Ages to nowadays, contemporary poetry’s public and ways of reception have always varied. One can observe often a distanciation between innovative poetry (sometimes deemed “complex”), and the mass of potential readers. There are several reasons for which this distanciation may have happened, during the 20th century, such as the exteriorisation of human memory on various apparatuses, from books to digital supports, it seems replacing the practice of memorizing poetry.

If poetry at the turn of the 19th and 20th century had been particularly perceived as an intellectual, complex and potentially abstract art, many contemporary poets (such as Kevin Killian or Anne Waldman in North American poetries) continue to look for inspiration in mass culture, and divert it or incorporate it in their texts.

Use of new technologies in poetic creation and performance can can result in the reconnection with readers, who are not only readers, but active users of screens. Productions such as videopoems, use of online techniques and knowledge, or even development of poetry on new media (blogs, social networks) to give a few examples of the current trends of poetry making use of the contemporary media. Besides, poetic performance art developped as a corollary to the new media, such as using tape in the 1950s, the sound amplification systems, and more recently, multimedia devices. As a result it seems that poetic performance, poetry readings, poetic films reach a larger public, who may prefer to see and hear poetry, sometimes as an alternative to books.

This conference focuses on the dynamics between poetry and the audiovisual/social media in contemporary western society. We would like to question typical tendencies in contemporary poetic composition, performance and poetry consumption, in the light of intersections between the poetic word, its sonority and (still and moving) images. Papers will seek to address the following questions, among others:

How do poets proceed in their relation to popular or mass culture? How does mass culture enrich their poetics? Does it help them to reach a larger audience? On what conditions popular or mass culture becomes assimilated and then released to common use in contemporary poetics?

How has poetry been altered by public performances (sound poetry, slam, postpoetry…), and ephemeral productions of a world allowing us to record and stock data?

How has the conception and practice of poetry been transformed by poetic compositions, recorded and created by cinematographic/videographic/digital techniques, and published on the Internet?

Can we speak of a democratisation or a renewed popularisation of poetry seen its open use on social networks?

We are expecting proposals on poetic forms nourished by audiovisual and digital media and which could have an effective impact on a larger public, which would be rich by its use of intermedial techniques, that the book form couldn’t reach.

The conference will be held in English and French, but participants are welcome to present poetries of different languages. General queries and abstracts of no more than 300 words and a bio-bibliography of at maximum 5 lines, in English or in French should be sent to the following e-mail address:

Deadline for applications: 21st April 2019.


Faculty of Humanities, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary