Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

5/1/2010 - 9/30/2010

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Race and Form in American Poetry

FAIN: FT-57574-10

Karen Jackson Ford
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)

I am exploring how and why US poets have argued for the racial content of particular poetic forms. I am less interested in claims that equate cultural identity with poetic forms--for instance, that Japanese Americans write haiku--than in the process of attributing racial meanings to poetic forms, meanings that are, paradoxically, available to writers both inside and outside of the racial group in question. The chapter I propose to write during the summer of 2010, "Dead White Men, Dead Verse Forms, and the Third World Villanelle Society," treats the revival of interest in traditional poetic forms during the 1980s and beyond when white poets and poets of color began employing traditional verse forms for radically different reasons. I bring together these contradictory histories and poetries to illustrate how poets have relied on formal prosody to explore and expand issues of nation, race, and culture rather than to stabilize a particular identity.