16 April 2009

back at the african literature association's annual conference (version 2009)

In Burlington, Vermont at the 2009 ALA Conference. Another packed conference. I got in yesterday afternoon but missed Soyinka's keynote, which is disappointing.

Taking a quick look at the program, though, I have to say I'm yet again disappointed by the presence (or rather lack) of poetry. Not the conveners' fault. We're not doing our part to propose papers and panels with a focus on poetry. Novels and the national project are still the dominant topics. Sexy and fun.

I'll have to take a closer look at the program.

There is a poetry reading tonight which I'll be reporting on -- An Evening of Poetry In Memoriam. Its presence in the program is very much as an entertainment, which makes some sense. I guess. Of course, it is also interesting to note (and telling? in contrast to the dearth of poetry as part of the concurrent panels?) that all the poets are listed with their (academic) institutional affiliation.

Might be time to start thinking of proposing some alternative programming: a poetry workshop? working up small posters of poetry to post around the venue (like Poems on the Underground and its many copycats)? Hmmm...

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