Presenter Bio

Shayna S. Israel is a poet and researcher interested in the intersection between visual and literary arts. She is a graduate student in poetry at the University at Buffalo and works with visually impaired and differently-abled students as a vocational coach and writing teacher. Her research interests are the intersection between poets, painters and mass commerce, the life and work of poet/abstract expressionist painter Danny Simmons Jr. and de-centralized spaces for higher education in modern times. In terms of creative writing: Photography is the way Shayna writes poetry. Rejecting the distillation of a poem or image into one single meaning, her aim is to capture the relationship between light and shadow in any given moment and return to the reader mood, color or tone. Shayna often utilizes image and text to pose riddles. It is not only our answers but also our questions that rescue us. Her use of puzzle is to inspire readers to become more comfortable with questions, with the unknown--and even derive pleasure from them as one would a puzzle, whose pleasure often is garnered after a bit of flailing.

Project Type

Oral presentation-Paper

Session Title

Literature Presentations I

Abstract

When critics and scholars attempt to define the lyric poem as entirely individual—a prison song overheard—or social—a “privileging of the political over the private spheres” (Dubrow 120)—one risks overlooking the nuanced way in which the lyric poem behaves, overlooking the novel interaction between first-person declaratives, the exchange of “I’s: between the poet and his audience. What would it be to consider the genre of lyric a dream world of exchange, an economy of “I’s”? Categories are crucial in assisting scholars and readers make sense of what they read. The renewed interest in Greek poetry by the Romans, for example, was in part due to the effect familiarization with conventional features has on shifting sensibility and expectation (Johnson 97). However, both poetry and poets by the nature of the/their work defy mimetic interpretation and are often hard to place within rigid categories. Thus, classification in poetry is only as useful as it is malleable. For, one of the great lyric bards of the modern era, Walt Whitman utilizes first-person declaratives as well as narrative and epic elements in a single poem—namely, A Passage to India. What is consistent in the Whitmanian lyric is not the sublimation of his social world for the individual but how he uses first-person pronouns to construct a social world in which exile perspectives can be traded—an “I” for an “I”—in a movement toward an ideal, fictional, collective body—in a movement toward transcendence.

Faculty Advisor

Susan Eilenberg

Faculty Email

sre@buffalo.edu

Location

Liberal Arts 202

Start Date

23-4-2016 9:00 AM

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Apr 23rd, 9:00 AM

De-capitalizing the “I”: Worlds both Inner and Shared in the Whitmanian Lyric

Liberal Arts 202

When critics and scholars attempt to define the lyric poem as entirely individual—a prison song overheard—or social—a “privileging of the political over the private spheres” (Dubrow 120)—one risks overlooking the nuanced way in which the lyric poem behaves, overlooking the novel interaction between first-person declaratives, the exchange of “I’s: between the poet and his audience. What would it be to consider the genre of lyric a dream world of exchange, an economy of “I’s”? Categories are crucial in assisting scholars and readers make sense of what they read. The renewed interest in Greek poetry by the Romans, for example, was in part due to the effect familiarization with conventional features has on shifting sensibility and expectation (Johnson 97). However, both poetry and poets by the nature of the/their work defy mimetic interpretation and are often hard to place within rigid categories. Thus, classification in poetry is only as useful as it is malleable. For, one of the great lyric bards of the modern era, Walt Whitman utilizes first-person declaratives as well as narrative and epic elements in a single poem—namely, A Passage to India. What is consistent in the Whitmanian lyric is not the sublimation of his social world for the individual but how he uses first-person pronouns to construct a social world in which exile perspectives can be traded—an “I” for an “I”—in a movement toward an ideal, fictional, collective body—in a movement toward transcendence.