Wednesday, July 21, 2010


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 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.


Louise Mathias said...

Hi Josh- very interesting project. Question: what's the policy on previously published work ? I suppose I could have sent you a private note but thought others might have the same question. Thnx, Louise Mathias

Unknown said...

Hi Louise--answering for both of us: previously-published is fine, dandy (as long as you have the rights). Or not. Or a mixture of the two. Whatever you would like us to consider, we'd be happy to read. --GC

Kent Johnson said...

Great project!

I hope the book includes something on Dale Smith's tour de force Susquehanna (Punch Press, 2008), certainly one of the ambitious works of recent "pastoral" (in the conflicted sense I take you to be proposing the concept).

A description of the book is here:

And a good review of it is here:

Louise Mathias said...

Thanks so much for answering my question. Dunno if you are soliciting by not including something by Joe Massey seems it would be an oversight. I'm excited about this project.

demotutorial said...

I'd help you get the word out. :) Good luck! black authors are welcome?

Unknown said...

We are very interested in seeing work from poets of color, gay/lesbian/transgender poets, and other poets and poetries from under-represented groups. The only requirement is that the poems engage in some way with pastoral and the postmodern - according, we hope, to the widest and most creative interpretations of those terms.

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