excerpt from the Birbeck Contemporary Poetics Research Site:
Alice Notley is one of the most distinctive and exceptional voices in contemporary American poetry. On 10 May 2008 she came to the Birkbeck Poetics Centre for a symposium shaped around her voice, which aimed to celebrate her extraordinary writing and generate its own creative ‘work’ of discussion in response. She read throughout, alongside short ten-minute talks by a small group of participants – poets and poet-critics – each of whom had chosen one poem or a short part of her work to explore. The remit was open, so what unrolled throughout the day was a record of engagement with the duration of her reading, including personal responses and kinds of negotiation, reflections on practice, questions of interpretation.
Constellation: Alice Notley is both a record of that exchange, revised for a new format, and a wider communal collaboration. It brings together the participants from the day with a more extensive network of connections and voices. It includes essays and poems, notes and reflections, and video footage from the day, with links for other material available. It is curated in and across three spaces online – the Birkbeck Centre for Poetics, “Intercapillary Space”, and Openned – by Carol Watts, Edmund Hardy, Steve Willey and Alex Davies. It is a celebration of the work of a major poet, whose writing offers a powerfully attentive engagement with our times.
Symposium participants: Jon Clay, John Hall, Edmund Hardy, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Piers Hugill, Elizabeth James, Peter Middleton, Stephen Mooney, Sophie Robinson, Zoe Skoulding, Carol Watts, Steve Willey.
Joined by: Tim Allen, Caroline Bergvall, Elizabeth Bryant, Jennifer Cooke, Jen Currin, Ian Davidson, Melissa Flores-Bórquez, Susana Gardner, Ralph Hawkins, Amy Hollowell, Sarah Hopkins, Claudia Keelan, David Kennedy, Pansy Maurer-Alvarez, Redell Olsen, Michael Peverett, Will Rowe, Lisa Samuels, Elizabeth Treadwell, Catherine Wagner, Steven Waling, Dana Ward