EXTENDED DEADLINE— WHAT WE(A)RE ANTHOLOGIES IN CANADIAN POETRY
Jim Johnstone’s introduction to The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21stCentury Canadian Poetry (2018) begins by envisioning the Canadian poetry scene as a gala at which the Atwoods, Ondaatjes, and Carsons of the form “monopoliz[e] the spotlight,” in sharp contrast with “a younger, more anonymous crowd pushing at the margins, trying to bypass the guest list.” The image of a social event acknowledges the organic nature of a poetry “scene,”but the project of the anthologist seems to involve more layers of artifice than Johnstone’s trope acknowledges. His introduction ends by shifting the image to a dancefloor, the spotlight having “turned into a strobe light, touching on a generation currently unsettling the formula for writing ‘Canadian’ poetry.” The comparison is striking; nevertheless, questions remain about who’s been told about the party, who cares, who would consider it a party in the first place, and what dancing even consists of.
Frog Hollow Press seeks contributors for an essay collection that probes some of the issues surrounding contemporary practices of anthologizing Canadian poetry. Intended for publication as part of the Literary Criticism Series, the anthology revolves around the larger question of what contemporary or future Canadian Poetry Anthologies may be building, and for whom. To what extent are anthologies ultimately inseparable from the academy? If poetry isn’t being consumed according to market-based relations, i.e. by anyone other than enthusiasts or students or instructors, what work is an anthology doing?Can we imagine a poetry culture that’s open to new readers and yet is still receptive to the anthologist’s guidance? Relatedly, to what extent is the act of anthologizing influenced by the ascendance of the curator and the curatorial impulse? Conversely, in our neoliberal era, what will happen to poetry if the current university ecosystem is de-funded beyond recognition? In sum: what work is being done at present, and in what possible direction could future anthologists move?
While we wish to focus on Canadian poetry, contributors are also welcome to address larger contradictions in the genre or a range of related topics. Possibilities include:
- the anthology as objective vs. the anthology as personal statement
- university presses vs. small presses
- canonicity and its contradictions
- demographic vs. formal or stylistic representation
- the (ir)relevance of notions of national or regional literatures
- cosmopolitanism past, present, and future
- the influence of curation/the curator
- temporalities of anthologization, i.e. as retrospective, present-oriented, or prospective
Potential contributors are invited to send a proposal of 200-300 words, along with a biographical statement of 50-100 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1st, 2019. Invitations to submit complete essays of 4000-7000 words will be sent out shortly thereafter, along with a deadline and revision/publication timeline. Submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, and other underrepresented writers are especially welcome.