EVENT DETAILS: 6:00 pm, Saturday, 15 March 2014. Center for Marxist Education, 550 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Poet-activist Josh Stanley will lead “Immortality in Public,” a seminar addressing lyric poetry, labor organizing, subjectivity and immortality. Following a formal talk and moderated discussion, Stanley will read from his poetry.
EVENT DESCRIPTION: Labor organizing requires the making public of subjective commitments and dreams – collective politics doesn’t mean less subjectivity, but more. This talk will focus on the poetic techniques used by John Keats and Keston Sutherland to represent the experience of immortality in Keats’s Endymion (1818) and Sutherland’s The Odes to TL61P (2013). Both Keats and Sutherland are invested in making public the experience of immortality and showing that the origins of these experiences are frequently in social life and erotic desire: separated by nearly two centuries, the two poets are responding to the representation of immortality (or the difficulty of representing immortality) in Wordsworth’s great Ode (“There was a time”). I will be trying to connect the need for representing experiences of immortality in poetry at the level of lineation to the work of political activism and the difficult work of representing for others the power of subjective experience, the power of what would otherwise seem fragile and combustible, and how through the insistence on the immortality of the dreaming and desiring subject that collective power is built to break the iron wall of capital. Embedded in this is an argument for both lyric and narrative poetry.
Josh Stanley is a poet, academic and activist. He has been living since 1987, which he continued doing in the south of England before moving to the USA in 2010. Stanley is the author of several chapbooks including Lich Value (Property Press 2012) and Contranight Escha Black (Critical Documents 2010); his poems were anthologized in Better Than Language (Ganzfeld Press 2011). From 2009-11 he edited the journal Hot Gun!. Currently, Stanley is studying for a PhD on Romanticism and eighteenth-century poetry at Yale University.
SEMINAR MATERIALS: We strongly encourage attendees to read through the materials linked to below in advance of the seminar:
1) Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (1802)
2) Keston Sutherland, “Ode to TL61P 1” (Enitharmon Editions 2013)
3) Hegel, “Religion in the Form of Art,” Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)
4) Keats, Endymion, Book 1 (1818).
See also the poem “A Story” by Josh Stanley.