Calls for Papers

MLA Conference, January 4-7, 2018, New York City

The Wallace Stevens Society is seeking proposals on any aspect of the topic of Stevens and music for MLA, 2018 (January 4-7, New York City): the musical analogy in poems; aspects of voice and theme; music and sound; musical compositions based on Stevens work; Stevens’ interest in and references to particular composers; musical-poetic structures.

Please send abstracts of 250 words to Lisa Goldfarb by February 15, 2017 at the very latest:

“When the book lay turned in the dust of his table”: Stevens in and beyond the book

ALA Conference, May 25-28, 2017, Boston

This panel proposes to look at Stevens’ poetry in and beyond the book, casting a backward glance on the age of print from the perspective of the digital age. It will welcome contributions that address either representations of the book within Stevens’ œuvre, or the way that Stevens’ poetry books, in their various formats and editions, have shaped our reception of his work. How did Stevens’ relationship to the book-as-object inform his poetry and poetics? What place does the book hold in Stevens’ poems? Why and how is the poetry book staged in Stevens’ play Bowl, Cat and Broomstick? In a 2011 article from The Wallace Stevens Journal, Chris Beyers suggested that to “consider especially Harmonium and Ideas of Order as individual books instead of subsections of The Collected Poems” had “the potential to change the reader’s experience of the poems” (Beyers, 79). How can we approach the multiple versions of Harmonium today in the classroom? To what extent did the Library of America edition affect Stevens studies, and how might a digital Stevens project modify our understanding of Stevens’ work?

Please submit your 300-500 word abstract along with a short bio by December 1, 2016 to:

Teaching Wallace Stevens

(Special Issue of The Wallace Stevens Journal)


Over twenty years have passed since John N. Serio and B. J. Leggett published their collection, Teaching Wallace Stevens (1994). Since then the teaching landscape has been undergoing significant change. Are there new challenges and opportunities for teaching Stevens in the twenty-first century, with the growing diversity of our student populations, shifting job possibilities (or lack of them), the increasing marginalization of the humanities and of poetry in particular? In this era of globalization, what success have you had teaching Stevens to speakers of other languages and readers from different cultures?

Deadline:  one-page proposals by March 15, 2016 to If your proposal is accepted, you will be asked to expand it into a full-length essay by September 1, 2016.

MLA Convention, January 5th-8th, 2017, Philadelphia

TOPIC: Yeats, Stevens, Eliot: Re-Triangulating the Transatlantic Canon

Chaired by Edward Ragg, Tsinghua University, Beijing

In the centenary year of the publication of Prufrock and Other Observations this panel will reconsider the contributions of W. B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens and T. S. Eliot in shaping the Transatlantic canons of English Literature, American Literature, Anglo-American Literature and Anglo-Irish Literature. Topics of central concern will include Eliot’s seminal influence on Modernism and 20th Century literary and cultural criticism, Yeats’ equally public role as poet and cultural arbiter and Stevens’ more private but no less significant rise to literary renown in both academic and literary circles at home and Contributions that compare and contrast the careers of two or more of these canonical figures are welcomed. How did each poet shape his poetic career? Just as late Yeats and late Stevens are often read in tandem, how do the long careers of these older poets compare with Eliot’s rapid rise to fame in the early phase of Modernism? What are the implications of Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) stealing the limelight one year prior to Stevens’ Harmonium (1923)? How did the less Modernist Yeats of Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921) fashion his own mythologies? And does late Eliot pale alongside late Stevens or late Yeats? Papers addressing not only these authors’ poetry, but also their plays, essays and other writings are especially welcome.

Please send abstracts (500 words) to: Edward Ragg (

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15th March 2016

CFP for Spring 2017 Special Issue of Wallace Stevens Journal

The Wallace Stevens Journal invites submissions of full-length essays for a Spring 2017 special issue on Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost. Any aspect of the poets’ works or lives may be proposed. Editors welcome innovative twists on traditional topics, and they are equally interested in understudied topics that have urgency in the contemporary world of theory and criticism, such as colonialism and postcoloniality, disability studies, ecocriticism, technopolitics, gender studies, and popular/mass culture.

Frost and Stevens famously lacked an appreciation for each other’s work. The two exchanged few letters and met fewer times; in their best known interchange, Stevens reportedly said to Frost, ‘The trouble with you is you write about things.’ And Frost replied, ‘The trouble with you is you write about bric-a-brac.” (Brazeau 132). Frost apparently resented Stevens as an aloof intellectual who “looks down on everybody” (181, 136). Similarly, their best-known work seems to hold little in common: against Frost’s dialogic narratives, reputedly plain diction, and devotion to charting place and character of local America, there are Stevens’ philosophic series , inventive language, and regard for an abstract sense of place , rather than the substance, of the locations in which he situates his poems. Likewise, their best-known public images–the buttoned-up insurance-executive composing poems while walking briskly to lunch or asking secretaries to look up words in OED is not akin to either Randall Jarrell’s portrait of the farmer-poet Frost or to Lionel Trilling’s revision of Frost as the author of “terrifying” poems.

And yet the poet of “The Snow Man” and the poet of “Desert Places” share a surprising number of correspondences in their lives and writing. Both are transplanted New Englanders who courted and eventually married hometown sweethearts, with mixed results, and they weathered personal disappointments amid increasing critical acclaim. Both read widely in contemporary science and philosophy, loved languages and etymology, wrote imaginative geographies or paeans to place (one more concrete than the other), and continued to write in traditional poetic forms, employing meter, when their contemporaries eschewed such practices. Both are argued as central to a pragmatist Emersonian tradition in American literature and share additional relations to William James, Wordsworth, and Keats. Both also are known for their use of architectural imagery. And, of course, both published their first books relatively late.

The editors also welcome from poets and artists in any field a less formal reflection centered upon what each of these poets has meant to you–in terms of your aesthetic development or your sense of the traditions and possibilities of American poetry and poetics. Each of these poets has famously come in for reappraisals: How might your understanding or use of these figures ask us again to understand what each has meant–or could mean–to writers and readers today? What possibilities, whether in particular poems or signature features, do we have yet to discover or fully understand? How do you–with the hindsight of a century of modern and global poetic practices–consider their comparative legacies?

Such a contribution may be written as a creative or a critical piece; it may be brief, i.e., no more than a page. And it may forego the conventions of formal academic prose.

For inquiries, please send an abstract and short bio to Steven Axelrod and Natalie Gerber by February 1, 2016; or submit full-length essays by June 15, 2016.