Evidence of poet’s influence in Chicago part of symposium discussion Saturday
He wasn't looking for it, but David Pavelich unearthed a forgotten moment in the history of Chicago poetry.
While flipping through a dealer's catalogue, Pavelich, the Joseph Regenstein Library's Bibliographer for modern poetry, stumbled across a mimeographed magazine called Chicago. "In looking through issues of one periodical, I would see mentions of another. And suddenly I had a kernel of five or six mimeographed magazines from 1970 to 1974, published by the same coterie of poets," Pavelich said.
Among that coterie was the magazine's editor, Alice Notley, now an influential and award-winning poet.
"Very few people knew that she was in Chicago at all, and that when she was here she was publishing this magazine," Pavelich said. "It's a really interesting historical moment that has never been written about."
Notley's magazine and the work of several other significant Chicago poets will be the topic of the third annual Chicago Poetry Symposium. The free, public event will take place Saturday, April 17, in the Special Collections Research Center.
Ph.D. candidate Stephanie Anderson, who will be lecturing about Chicago magazine at the symposium, said the magazine reveals how important Notley became to the Chicago poetry scene. "[It shows] Notley as a young editor, aggressive and savvy, thinking about issues of mobility, community, and poetic practice-often across the lines of what we now see as specific poetic 'movements.' My communication with other Chicago poets of the time, most of whom were younger students, also has revealed that Notley became something of a guiding figure for them, helping to introduce them to the work of various poets around the country."
Shedding new light on Chicago poets always has been a primary aim of the symposium, according to Pavelich. "It really came from my hope to get the materials to a place that's more dynamic, and to promote this as a place that's pedagogically useful, as well as witness to a history that hasn't been written about in the past," he said.
In subsequent years, the event has grown more ambitious, featuring more lectures and speakers from around the country.
This year's symposium will cover a variety of topics on the history of Chicago poetry.In addition to Anderson's lecture about Notley's magazine, the symposium will feature a discussion of Sterling Plumpp's work by University of Illinois-Chicago's Phil Jenks and Lecturer Garin Cycholl. Plumpp, who taught for many years at UIC, mentored Cycholl.
"That's one aspect of the symposium that I've always enjoyed-giving younger poets the opportunity to pay homage and in some way acknowledge the influence of the previous generations of Chicago poets," Pavelich said.
More broadly, Pavelich hopes the event will draw attention to Chicago's rich and eclectic poetry scene. "Chicago isn't generally thought of as a modernist or postmodernist literary hotbed, but it's a huge city and interesting things were happening."
For more information about the event, please visit:http://lib.typepad.com/scrc/2010/02/chicago-poetry-symposium-2010.html
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