A Brief History of the Poetics Program

Founded in 1991 by Charles Bernstein, Robert Creeley, Raymond Federman, Susan Howe, and Dennis Tedlock, the Poetics Program developed out of the vision of UB English Professor (and sometime Chair) Albert Cook: that poetry and poetics could be taught in a doctoral program by non-academic poets. In addition to poet-scholars advising and directing dissertations and closely mentoring students, and to its commitment to innovative poetries and to use of the extraordinary archives and resources of UB's renowned Poetry Collection, the Poetics Program has been distinctive in its intensive re-envisioning of what studying "poetics" comprehends. Pedagogy and curriculum in Poetics has always encompassed subjects beyond modern and contemporary Anglophone and Western European poetry, to include ethnopoetics and cross-cultural poetics, theory and practice of translation, history and technologies of the book, oral cultures and historical to contemporary performance, the poetics of media, poetry as philosophy, poetry as science and anti-science ('pataphysics), the poetics of body and affect, and the poetics of poetry's cross-conversation with many disciplines, such as political economy and environmental studies.

Along with readings and talks given by poets and performers each semester, the Poetics Program has hosted and continues to present exhibitions, conferences, symposia, and special events on a wide variety of authors and subjects.

In concert with their scholarship, our students continue to engage in their lives as active poets and authors through the Program's support of myriad independent student ventures, such as journal and book publications, performances, research travel, and colloquia.