January Will Bring Robert Duncan to 100
Robert Duncan would be turning 100 in January of 2019, and the Sorbonne is celebrating the centenary with “Passages”: The Robert Duncan Centennial Conference in Paris, a summer event that will feature keynotes from Stephen Fredman, Miriam Nichols, and Michael Palmer. "With his direct address to his contemporaries and the broad forces and structures—psychological, political, cosmological—at work in the world, and with his aspiration to write a holistic 'grand collage' sweeping up all possible inputs to his poetry, it could be argued that we need Duncan’s work and his vision now more than ever," write the organizers. Furthermore:
Duncan’s work on a poetry and poetics of “passages,” in particular, remains key. The “Passages” poems spatialize poetry as an “area of composition,” embrace discontinuity and incompletion (they remain part of a work always “larger than the book in which they appear”) and seek intertextual and psycho-social connection at every moment of their unfolding.
Radically open, Duncan’s work thus calls for re-engagement—for the following of new connecting passages through and out of his work, for drawing new poetic passages from a resource that remains inexhaustibly “beyond.” This is all the more important since Duncan’s creative heterodoxy eschews habitual notions of genealogy or tradition. Because his is a rare case of great relevance which does not easily translate into lineage, it seems most appropriate that one should now turn to Duncan, standing as we are today Before the War and In the Dark, and listen to the cadence of his verse anew.
The Paris Conference, as a centennial celebration of Robert Duncan’s works, invites proposals from scholars and poets.