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2012 CFP

Emily Dickinson International Society panel at the 2012 South Atlantic Modern Language Association convention, November 9-11, 2012; Durham, North Carolina.

Conference theme: “Text as Memoir: Tales of Travel, Immigration, and Exile”
Panel Title: “Dickinson’s (Inter)Textuality”

Please send a 200-400 word description of your project by July 1, 2012 to Trisha Kannan at Please describe the details of your project as well as how it relates to Emily Dickinson and to the panel’s theme.

Emily Dickinson once wrote to T.W Higginson that “When I state myself, as the Representative of the Verse – it does not mean – me – but a supposed person” (L268). However, over a hundred years after the first volumes of Dickinson’s poetry were printed, the general notion remains that she is the poet of privacy. Higginson wrote in the Preface to the 1890 edition that Dickinson’s poems “belong emphatically to what Emerson has long since called the ‘poetry of the portfolio’—verses written without a thought towards publication.” The intrigue surrounding Dickinson’s life and manuscripts has resulted in the over-simplification of a radically complex poetic project, yet the creation of an icon of reclusiveness is not to be dismissed. Rather, Dickinson’s manuscripts and the succession of editorial policies reveal the perhaps unavoidable dichotomy between the creation of voice and the distribution of persona. Dickinson’s commitment to manuscript production offers a telling glimpse into the unforeseeable travels one takes as a “supposed person,” and Dickinson’s refusal to provide clear instructions for translating her work into print requires readers to “dwell in Possibility.”

As a result, this panel seeks non-traditional approaches to the creation of “supposed persons.” Rather than formal presentations and papers relating to Dickinson’s texts as memoirs, we hope to create a dialogue among presenters and participants regarding the creation and distribution of voice. While we would like contributions to relate in some way to Dickinson, we are open to “Possibilities.” We welcome more traditional analyses as well as creative work that can be written, digital, or mixed media.