State of the Field: American Postwar Poetry and Poetics/Queer and Feminist Theory

By: Iris Cushing



This journal publishes a lot of scholarly articles about the 20th-century American poetry tradition I am interesting in, including the New American Poetry. There are essays on Charles Olson, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky, etc.

Feminist Review

This journal appears to include scholarship about  feminist literary discourse and is really diverse in terms of time period, genre, language and theory.

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

I find this journal’s stated mission of “promoting diversity within feminist philosophy and philosophy in general” really interesting; it seems like it would be a great resource for looking into the relationship between feminist theory and writing and mysticism studies.

Contemporary Literature

MELUS Journal


Among Friends: Engendering the Social Sites of Poetry, ed. Anne Dewey and Libbie Rifkin

University of Iowa Press, 2013

This was a text that I read and drew upon extensively when putting together my applications for doctoral programs last fall. Many of the essays in it really helped me figure out what I wanted to study and why: for example, Lytle Shaw’s essay on the literary “hippie” culture in 1960s Bolinas, California showed me that Sixties counterculture was something that could be considered critically alongside the literature being produced during that time. The book is based somewhat on various epistemologies of poetic friendship, which I found delightful. As a poet in my own time and place, friendship and affinity are the “currency” that makes my community function. Having a thoughtful articulation of how that has happened in other poets’ places and times was (and is) tremendously useful to me.

Rednecks, Queers and Country Music by Nadine Hubbs

University of California Press, 2014

Critical analyses of “pop” texts (such as the language of Country Western songs) is something I want to get into over the course of my doctoral studies. I am super curious about how music scholar Nadine Hubbs applies queer theory to American country music traditions and culture.

Virgin Microbe: Essays on Dada by David Hopkins and Michael White

Northwestern Press: Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies Series, 2014

The relationship between “the avant-garde and mass culture” that this book addresses is something that seems very relevant to my area of inquiry. I am also curious about the bearing metaphysics has on modernity, which this book also takes up.


Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference

This conference seems to be a space in which I might learn a lot about the intersections of popular culture (music, performance, literature) and traditions associated with the peoples of the American Southwest (especially in my main areas of interest: American mysticism and queer/feminist theory). I used to live in Arizona and have written and thought extensively about the American Southwest; I love the idea of presenting a paper at this conference on some aspect of mystic practice and queer identity (as it emerges, say, in Anges Martin or Georgia O’Keefe’s writings, both of whom were queer and lived in the Southwest).

From this conference’s “About” page: The mission of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) is to promote an innovative and nontraditional academic movement in Humanities and Social Sciences celebrating America’s cultural heritages. To provide an outlet for scholars, writers, and others interested in popular/American culture, to share ideas in a professional atmosphere, and to increase awareness and improve public perceptions of America’s cultural traditions and diverse populations.

Conference of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto

This conference seems to combine theory and philosophy scholarship with literary scholarship. Although I am obviously not in Comp Lit, I would definitely like to make some kind of contact with Asian literature as it relates to Asian spiritual traditions over the course of my career.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference:


University of Iowa Press Contemporary North American Poetry Series

I find almost every title in this series incredibly exciting. The scholarly books on the likes of Lorine Neidecker, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Frank O’Hara are all things that I not only should read, I very much want to read. Many of the series’ authors (such as Elizabeth Willis, who wrote the book on Neidecker, or Rachel Blau du Plessis, who wrote the book on “the end of patriarchal poetry”) are also poets. The book that I consider my main impetus and inspiration for applying to doctoral programs, Maggie Nelson’s Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, was published by this series (it was also her dissertation for our very program).

Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series, University of Alabama Press

This series, edited by poet-scholars Charles Bernstein and Hank Lazer, focuses on Postmodern American poetry and includes many titles that I know will be useful to me in the course of my studies (I’m reading one of them right now, Miriam Nichols’ Radical Affections: Essays on the Poetics of Outside, for Ammiel Alcalay’s class). Before checking out their website, I did not know that one of my all-time favorite poets, Harryette Mullen, had published a book of critical prose, and now I am really excited to read it.

Gender and Culture Series, Columbia University Press

This press was founded in 1983, the year of my birth, by feminist scholar-theorists Nancy K. Miller and Carolyn Heilbrun. One of the titles in the series, The Scandal of Susan Sontag, is something that I have read and been informed by in my creative work; the book also helped me formulate where I see myself in relation to feminism, queer studies, and the life of the public intellectual.

Other Press Series: Duke University, The Feminist Press


Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania:

The Penn Humanities Forum is an interdisciplinary organization for humanities scholarship that focuses on a different topic each year. I find the lectures and events offered through this forum really exciting and relevant to my interests for two reasons: first, its engagement with the visual and performing arts. The PHF collaborates with museums, galleries and performing arts organizations ( in addition to bringing in academic scholars) for its event series. Second, I find many of the topics that have been explored since the PHF’s inception in 1999 incredibly exciting and resonant with the scholarly work I’d like to do (such as Style, Change, Virtuality, Violence, Word and Image). (The list of topics by year can be seen here:

Critical Encounters Series at Princeton University:

This interdisciplinary speaker series incorporates poets, historical reenactment theatre, film studies, and feminist theory, among many other diverse and fascinating areas of discourse. I am especially thrilled by the event that focused on Chang and Eng Bunker (the original “Siamese Twins”) and on the film Lovelace (about the relationship between feminism and porn). This seems like a rich and boundary-pushing series.

Lecture Series at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas, Austin:

This series brings in speakers whose work I find fascinating and important to my area of inquiry. I see that Rebecca Solnit is speaking there on November 7th; Solnit’s writings about the American West, the ethics of representation, political activism and feminist discourse have been a huge source of inspiration to me for years. Like the other series above, this one is interdisciplinary, bringing in film critics, poets, and artists. I also see that the Lecture Series is related to other events held at the Ransom Center (film screenings, readings and discussions).


University of California at Berkeley’s English Department Blog:

This blog of Cal’s English department has a number of interesting sections (such as one on literary archives and one of theatre criticism, both of which I am interested in engaging over the course of my studies). It also is searchable by keyword, has an event listing page, and a section of “Grad Notes” which lists accomplishments and news for graduates of the program. This last section was especially useful to me in looking for conferences and journals that other scholars have made contact with.

Ron Silliman’s Blog on Contemporary Poetry and Poetics:

This is a wonderful resource for all things having to do with contemporary American poetry, as well as critical writing about the Language Poets and New American Poetry.

Arcade (a Humanities Salon) at Stanford University:


Judith Butler: @JudithButler_

Margaret Galvan: @magdor

Kaplan Harris: @narrative

Julia Bloch: @julivox

Ron Silliman: @ronsilliman