Williams/Levertov, Levertov/Williams 1923–2023: Confluences

(Deadline Extended: July 21, 2023)

This conference celebrates the relationship between two influential American poets, William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) and Denise Levertov (1923-1997). It aims to explore the shared views, poetics, and engagement with history and social reality in the works of Williams and Levertov, as well as their differences and divergences.

William Carlos Williams and Denise Levertov were both crucial figures during Modernism, on the transition to Objectivism, the 1950s poetry and beyond. The year 1923 marks the publication of Williams’s Spring and All, and the birth of Levertov. This centennial celebration is also sixty years since William’s passing. Both poets’ works feature a commitment to precise and concrete language, a concern with social and political issues, and an exploration of the intersections between poetry and other forms of cultural expression.

This conference welcomes papers on a wide range of topics related to Williams and Levertov’s poetry, including but not limited to:

  • Williams and Levertov: their legacies and influence on US poetry
  • The Objectivist Poets and their dialogue with Williams and Levertov
  • The role of politics and activism in their poetry
  • Form and structure in their works
  • The importance of place and locality in their poetry
  • The influence of other writers on their work
  • The relationship between their poetry and other forms of cultural expression, such as visual art and music

We invite submissions from scholars working in all areas of literary and cultural studies including poetry, modernism, poetic groups, gender studies, spirituality and testimony.

Please submit a 400-word abstract and a brief bio (150 words) to the organizing committee by June 30. Accepted participants will be notified by July 20. Organizing committee: UCM, Esther Sánchez-Pardo, esanchez_pardo@filol.ucm.es; UCO, Cristina M. Gámez Fernández, cristina.gamez@uco.es; ULPGC, José Manuel Rodríguez Herrera, jose.rodriguez@ulpgc.es.

The conference, jointly organized by Universidad Complutense, Universidad de Córdoba and Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, will take place at Universidad Complutense on October 26–27, 2023. We are also exploring the possibility of publishing a volume of selected papers from the conference.

Further information on registration will follow for presenters, auditors and general audience. Registration fees: Regular presenters (onsite and online): 80 € (100 € after August 10). Student presenters (onsite and online): 40 € (50 € after August 10). All non-presenting onsite and online participants: free.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to exploring the rich and complex relationship between William Carlos Williams and Denise Levertov.