Ray Smith “Positions of Dissent” Lecture on New American Poetry by Lytle Shaw

Positions of DissentLytle Shaw, Associate Professor of English at New York University, will present a lecture entitled Olson’s Archives: From Cosmology to Discourse in New American Poetry on November 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. His talk is the third in this year’s Ray Smith Symposium, Positions of Dissent, organized by the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) of Syracuse University Library. He will be introduced by Gregg Lambert, Director of the SU Humanities Center.

Lytle Shaw’s talk will explore the varied place-based poetic practices of the 1960s, tracing connections between the ethnographic orientation of Charles Olson’s poetry and the work of Amiri Baraka, Gary Snyder, Joe Brainard, and Robert Creeley, who insisted on grounding their poetics in actual sites and social formations. Drawn from his forthcoming book, Fieldworks: Place to Site in Postwar Poetics, Shaw’s lecture and mini-seminar will illuminate how poets embodied a poetics of place in a variety of ways from Gloucester to Newark to Bolinas.

Shaw works primarily on American literature with emphasis on poetics, art, and theory. His books include Cable Factory 20 (1999), The Lobe (2002), Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (2006), The Chadwick Family Papers (2008), The Moiré Effect (2012), and the forthcoming Fieldworks: from Place to Site in Postwar Poetics.

A contributing editor for Cabinet, Shaw has recently published catalog essays on Robert Smithson and Zoe Leonard for Dia Center; on Gerard Byrne for Koenig Books; and on The Royal Art Lodge for the Drawing Center. Specimen Box, also forthcoming, is a collection of this and other art writing. His collaborative work with the artist Jimbo Blachly has been exhibited widely and is collected in The Chadwick Family Papers: A Brief Public Glimpse.

Shaw is currently working on two books: one about the politics of time in depicted landscapes and another about the status of poetry in recent theoretical debates. His courses include New York Poetry and the New Left, Theorizing the Archive, Very Contemporary Poetry, The Source of the Hudson: Landscape, Theory, History and Specters of Enlightenment in Postwar Poetics and Theory.


The Ray Smith Symposium Series was established in 1989 as the result of a bequest from the estate of SU alumnus Ray W. Smith ’21 to support symposia on topics in the humanities in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The symposium is named for the Auburn, N.Y. native who, after graduating from SU in 1921, was a highly respected teacher and administrator.





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