CALL FOR PAPERS ‘Archival Afterlives’: Postwar Poetry in English



‘Archival Afterlives’: Postwar Poetry in English

2017 John Rylands Research Institute Conference


27-29 June 2017, University of Manchester


Confirmed Speakers: Lucy Collins (UCD), Stephen Enniss (University of Texas, Austin), Rachel Foss (British Library), Peter Jay (Anvil Press), Robyn Marsack (Royal Literary Fund/University of Glasgow), Deryn Rees-Jones (Pavilion Press/University of Liverpool), Michael Schmidt (Carcanet Press), David Sutton (University of Reading), Kevin Young (Emory University),

with Poetry Readings by Elaine Feinstein and Tara Bergin.


The John Rylands Research Institute invites proposals for its 2017 conference on modern literary archives. Reflecting the strengths of the Special Collections at the John Rylands Library, the conference will focus in particular on archives related to postwar poetry in English.


‘Archival Afterlives’ will provide a forum for academic researchers, postgraduate students, curators, archivists, as well as poets to discuss their relationship with archival material, whether it be through creating, collecting or donating archives, or through using archival and material culture for inspiration, learning or research. The conference also takes place as part of a wider programme of activities at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library to facilitate the study of the holdings in modern and contemporary literature.

Topics for presentation might include:


  • Genetic histories of poetic texts; the role and place of genetic criticism in literary studies; the role and place of archival material in the study of contemporary poetry;
  • Poetic communities and networks; correspondence and its role in cementing literary networks and movements; collaborations; network mapping;
  • Poetry in translation; the process of translation; the relationship between the poet and the translator;
  • Life writing; archives and biographies;
  • The publishing of poetry; journals, publishing houses, and literary magazines;
  • The relationship of poet and editor;
  • The materiality of poetic texts; creating, documenting, managing and using literary drafts, manuscripts and proofs in physical and digital form;
  • Collecting the archives of modern poetry; ‘being archived’; the relationship of poets with their archives, and the poet with the archivist; collecting policies and strategies; the global diaspora of modern literary archives;
  • Archives and life-objects.


We also welcome presentations on any of the poets, translators, editors, publishers and poetic movements represented in the Library’s outstanding collection of Modern Literary Archives. These comprise the archives of poetry publishers Carcanet and Anvil, the literary journals PN Review and Critical Quarterly, as well as papers of and related to a diverse range of poets and translators. Poets represented in the archives include Elaine Feinstein, Grevel Lindop, Elizabeth Jennings, John Heath-Stubbs, Michael Schmidt, Brian Cox, Jeff Nuttall, John Ashbery, Eavan Boland, Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Paula Meehan, Edwin Morgan, Sinéad Morrissey, Les Murray, Dennis O’Driscoll, Sylvia Plath and many more.

Submissions from researchers at any stage of their career, as well as from curators and archivists are welcome.

Proposals for 15-minute papers (250 words + affiliation) or panels should be submitted using the abstract submission form, and sent as attachments to by 15 January 2017.

Please visit the conference website for further information.


Conference Convenor: Florence Impens, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester.

Steering Committee: Fran Baker (University of Manchester Library), Douglas Field (University of Manchester), Vona Groarke (University of Manchester), Stella Halkyard (University of Manchester Library), John McAuliffe (University of Manchester).