Goethe Society of North America
Call for paper proposals: MLA 2006

Sounds like Goethe

To what ends and in what ways did Goethe prove attentive to sound: to metrical matters, rhythm, stanza forms, line, and also rhyme, assonance, repetition of sound or - conversely - the absence of these features? What does this mean for the quality of his poetry, its difference from prose narrative or expository writing, its attraction to readers, to actors, to musicians and also its challenge to them? What does it mean to say that a poem "sounds like Goethe"? Is it a matter of sound? How distinctive is Goethe's sound from that of other poets? How can the sounds of Goethe's poetry best be described and evaluated? Can they be translated? In the end, why does sound matter?

For the 2006 MLA the Goethe Society of North America has accepted the invitation from MLA President Marjorie Perloff to participate in the special conference focus on "Sounds of Poetry/ Poetry of Sounds." Selected sessions, the MLA forums and other special events will focus on poetry and the question of sound. "Sounds" is broadly conceived and refers to metric and rhythmic choices, stanza forms, line and line breaks, as well as rhyme, assonance, alliteration, repetition and other secondary sound features. Whether and how metrical or rhythmic choice is historically, linguistically, nationally or culturally conditioned, how sound creates meaning, how and why individual poets might change their sound structuring over a career (or vary it within a single segment of their lives), how we as critics can avoid mere impressionism on the one hand and excessive technical analysis on the other in our attempts to describe the sound structures of poetry - these are among the key questions the special sessions will be probing. Recorded sound, the collaging of sound, the relationship of poetic sound to music and to the architecture in which it is performed are all matters of interest.

1-2 page proposals for 15-20 minute papers in the spirit of this cooperative venture are invited. Please send them to:
Meredith Lee
At:  [log in to unmask]

If email submission is not possible:
Meredith Lee
German Department
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3150

The deadline is February 22, 2006.

All presenters must be members of the MLA. The MLA asks that all who hope to participate in the special poetry sessions avoid committing themselves to more than one event during the 2006 meeting to ease scheduling conflicts. The featured poetry sessions will be scheduled to minimize overlaps among them. Selected papers will be published.
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