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Stephanie Burt: Shipping Containers



Stephanie Burt


Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm


Boardroom @ The Humanities Center



Stephanie Burt: Shipping Containers

Please join us at the Workshop in Poetics on Thursday, Feb 8, 6-8 pm in the Humanities Center Boardroom for a discussion with Prof. Stephanie Burt (English @ Harvard). She will be workshopping a paper titled "Shipping Containers" and Lorenzo Bartolucci (Comparative Literature) will be offering a response. Please contact for the actual paper. A light dinner will be served.


ABSTRACT: Shipping containers have transformed the world economy and changed human use of the seas; reused on land, they also provide homes, emergency shelters, restaurants, shops, hotels, fire breaks, earthquake barriers, and even outdoor sculpture. I argue that shipping containers, in their contemporary importance and especially in their vernacular reuse, give us ways to think about the value and the persistence of lyric poetry, as a concept and as a poetic kind. We can find this analogy in recent discussion of lyric and form; we can also find in particular contemporary poems, some of which depict shipping containers directly, and more of which (some of them by major living writers) depict the work of poetry, the movement of forms, genres or personae from place to place or person to person, in ways that shipping containers can help us explain. I look closely at poems, and at containers, in New Zealand, a nation of islands where ships play an outsized role, but I also consider contemporary Irish and American poets, among them Terrance Hayes, Elizabeth Bishop and Paul Muldoon.  


Stephanie Burt is Professor of English at Harvard University and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, among them Belmont, Parallel Play, Close Calls with Nonsense, The Forms of Youth: 20th Century Poetry and Adolescence, and The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary Poems and How to Read Them. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, The Believer, and the Boston Review.


Lorenzo Bartolucci is a first-year PhD student in the Comparative Literature department at Stanford. He received his BA in Comparative Literature from Harvard and is interested in probing existential dimensions of literary works, particularly pertaining to the experiences of guilt and forgiveness.


Please also note that MANTIS will be hosting a poetry reading by Stephanie Burt the next day (2/9) at 12 pm in the Terrace Room in Margaret Jacks.