Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, photographed in 2008.
I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless there’s a subway handy or a record store or some sign that people do not totally regret life.
–Frank O’Hara, “Meditations in an Emergency”
Scheduled for publication by Ahsahta Press in May 2012, and edited by Joshua Corey & G.C. Waldrep, The Arcadia Project seeks to explore the relationship between the postmodern and the pastoral in contemporary North American poetry.
In the twenty-first century it is only a short leap from civilization and its discontents—from the violent inequities of the “global village”—to the postmodern pastoral. Postmodern and pastoral: two exhausted and empty cultural signifiers recharged and revivified by their apparent antipathy, united by the logic of mutual and nearly assured destruction. With gas and food prices climbing, with the planet’s accelerated warming, with the contraction of our cheap-energy economy and the rapid extinction of plant and animal species, both the flat world of global capitalism and the green world of fond memory are in the process of vanishing before our eyes. As Frederic Jameson once remarked, “It seems to be easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imaginations.” It is to that question of imagination—dystopian and utopian—that this anthology addresses itself.
Any work in English by writers working in North America that addresses the pastoral in a postmodern idiom, vocabulary, or context, or vice versa, is welcome. Please send up to 15 pages of poetry, in standard electronic format (PDF, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .wpd) to Joshua Corey & G.C. Waldrep at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previously published work is acceptable; please provide acknowledgments or a publication history in that case. Deadline: 9/1/10.
Please feel free to forward this call to others, post on your blog, etc. We look forward to reading your work.