Poetry & Politics Presents: Margaret Ronda, featuring Whitney DeVos and Keegan Cook Finberg
This talk offers an extended reading of the work of rural Midwestern modernist poet Lorine Niedecker, whose poetry attends to various forms and speeds of what she calls “human material obsolescing.” The imaginative tarrying with these “outdated remains” (in Benjamin’s phrase) offers an example of a larger poetic archive that reflects on, and reflects, poetry’s diminishing cultural status in the twentieth century. The talk draws on Benjamin and Adorno’s theory of natural history (Naturgeschichte), which understands transience and susceptibility to ruin as the shared characteristic of “natural being” and “historical being.” Bringing a materialist philosophy of history to bear on this poetic archive throws into relief the ecological character of obsolescence itself, illuminating a different version of ecologically-oriented literature than the American environmentalist tradition, with its emphasis on wild nature, has privileged. In turn, this poetics of remainders—the material remnants of the production and commodification of nature, now displaced, unproductive, and uncanny—renders visible the dispossessions and ecological violence on which capital accumulation depends.
Margaret Ronda specializes in American poetry of the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. Particular areas of interest include Marxist criticism, aesthetic and genre theory, ecological literary modes, and avant-garde poetics. She is currently writing a book entitled Remainders: Poetry at Nature’s End, which examines how modern poetry serves as a distinctive site for charting uneven development and for archiving obsolescent forms of experience. Her first book of poetry, Personification, won the 2009 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize.
We invite you to join us at the Felix Kulpa Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz for a reading with Margaret Ronda and local poets and UCSC graduate students Keegan Cook Finberg and Whitney DeVos. The reading will begin at 6 p.m., with an opening reception at 5:30 p.m.
More information about these events and others can be found at www.ucscpoetrypolitics.com