eth press is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring a session at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in May 2016. We are actively seeking participants for this session:
“The grail is the opposite of poetry”: The Medieval Coterie in Jack Spicer’s The Holy Grail
Jack Spicer—a key mid-twentieth–century poet and a member of the “Berkeley Renaissance”—drew upon his obsession with Arthurian romance and the logic he saw in that tradition when he wrote his serial poem The Holy Grail (1962). The book consists of seven poems (“The Book of Percival”, “The Book of Gwenivere”, and the like), each in seven parts. It is clearly a “medievalist” poem, but it is one that is not particularly “driven by the nostalgia of popular culture”, as Nickolas Haydock has said of movie medievalism. However, because scholars of the middle ages have largely ignored the poem, there has not been an adequate examination of the nature of the poetic medievalism at play in the poem and how it might help us think with the medieval texts. This session will include recordings of the poet reading the text, as well as scholars working on medieval (and later) Arthurian literature and on the unexpected ways Spicer and the poets in his circle drew upon medieval texts more generally.
For this session, we seek scholars of contemporary poetry, of Arthuriana, of queer temporality, of medievalism, or scholars who are interested in approaching this poem in other compelling ways. This will be a roundtable, rather than a full paper session. Please send brief abstracts (200-250 words) to Dan Remein and Chris Piuma at ethpress[at]gmail.com no later than Sept. 15, 2015.