Jennifer Ashton, University of Illinois at Chicago | Newberry

Jennifer Ashton, University of Illinois at Chicago

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5 to 7pm

Towner Fellows Lounge

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Literature Seminar

Totaling the Damage: Revolutionary Ambition in Post-2008 American Poetry

Jennifer Ashton, University of Illinois at Chicago

For American poets in the generation born roughly between 1960 and 1980 who think of themselves both as aesthetically ambitious and ambitiously anticapitalist, the state of affairs they have been confronted with raises a question: What should the revolutionary poet be doing, when crisis - whether it be economic, social, environmental, or for that matter, aesthetic – appears increasingly frequent, inevitable, and irreversible? Or to ask the question in a slightly different form: What poetic forms do these conditions of crisis seem to require? One answer has been to define the terms in which lyric might once more become a viable revolutionary form despite its longstanding association with individual self-expression and, by extension, with the ideology of the free market. The form that answer takes is Ben Lerner’s 10:04: A Novel.

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.