Poetics in the 21st Century

The Poetics Program creates a generative space for inquiry around poetry’s extraordinary and urgent critical re-grounding of foundational categories of thought and praxis. Poetry scrutinizes and activates language as a medium that materializes history and power and forms the very frames of perception and consciousness. The Poetics Program’s intensive focus on poetry’s capacity to re-world in turn fosters the making of scholarly and artistic work on alert—work that is profoundly responsive to the epochal shifts of the 21st century and that opens up new, consequential objects of study. 

Mission (more)


To comprehend the “now” means recalibrating questions, even the positions from which we question, towards a radical remaking of paradigms. Poetics invites and collectively models disciplinary iconoclasm, proliferating interventions of multiple scales and dimensions. Sites of address include: literary form and the politics of aesthetics; structures of experience and affect; literary technologies, modalities of performance, and new media ecology; language as subject to morphing, compression, and euthanization under capital; temporality and schemas of history; cross-cultural poetics and processes of translation across languages, cultures, and locations; speculative thought and the limits of discourse; language's relation to the material world, language as materia in old and new materialisms; textual ethics and alterity; language’s making of multiply marked and positioned bodies. Pedagogy in the program commits to disruptive, constructive reading practices and engages with texts that insist on redefining reading. 

The Poetics Program also regards itself in terms of poeisis—as a continual process of engendering and transformation. Components of the program—readings, performances, seminars, symposia, talks with visiting scholars and poets, special events, mentorship, publishing and editing projects, cross-conversations with a larger community—all support and inform one another towards the collective creation of a highly attuned alternative literary culture.