Homes and Homelessness in NYC Poetry seminar, February 5th 2020

Wednesday 5th February, 5.00-7.00 pm
UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

‘A fragile system, easy to subvert’: Homes and Homelessness in NYC Poetry
Rona Cran (University of Birmingham) 

This talk emerges from research into how poets dwell creatively in new York, into how they dwell politically, and into what is means to dwell queerly, to offer alternative modes of being/dwelling/thinking in New York, alternative models of private space, and, beyond that, alternative models of the history of New York. Laurent Berlant and Elizabeth Freeman, in Michael Warner’s Fear of a Queer Planet, reveal the ways in which AIDS activist art collective Gran Fury ‘transform[ed] the passive public space of New York into a zone of political pedagogy’. Following them, this talk will explore the presentation of housing, homes and homelessness in the poetry of four queer New York poets – Langston Hughes, James Schuyler, Audre Lorde and Eileen Myles – in order to think about the ways in which they transform the city’s private spaces into similar zones of political pedagogy, reframing the idea of home and of what it means to be rooted, un-rooted and sometimes uprooted.

Rona Cran is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century American Literature and Co-Director of the American and Canadian Studies Centre at the University of Birmingham. Her first book was entitled Collage in Twentieth-Century Art, Literature, and Culture: Joseph Cornell, William Burroughs, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan (Ashgate, 2014), exploring the influence of Europe’s artist-émigrés on New York City culture from 1912 onwards. She is currently writing her second monograph, Multiple Voices: New York City Poetry, 1950-1995, which combines close reading, creative writing and archival research to explore the relationship between poetry and the urban, political and social changes that the city underwent during this time, arguing that socially-situated poetry offers particular sites of resistance.

All welcome, but guests from outside Westminster should RSVP Frankie Hines: OR Baptiste Danel:

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