Call for papers

Poetry. Experience. Attention.

The 4th Biannual INSL Conference. Oslo, 6–8 June, 2023.

Conference Website

“To experience a poem as a poem […] is not to treat it only as an event of meaning, but as an event of and in language, with language understood as a material medium as well as a semantic resource”, Derek Attridge writes in The Experience of Poetry (2019, p. 2). The quote has several thought-provoking implications. It addresses the question of what poetry is and how it works, relating the ontology, phenomenology and epistemology of poetry to materiality and media. By attending to the experience of ways in which poetry works as events of language, we might ask what kind of attention is produced in the event of the poetic experience. As Lucy Alford shows in her recent book, Forms of Poetic Attention (2020), attention is both the subject and the object of poetry. Poetry is tuning, and the experience of poetry is a particular kind of tuning with attention to the materiality of language, to the world, and to the forming of attention.

What is the relationship between poetry and experience, what is the singularity of the experience of poetry experienced through different media, what is the relationship between versification and attention, and how can approaches to experience and attention shed light, synchronically or diachronically, on poetry across genres and media?

The International Network of the Study of Lyric (INSL) and the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, invite scholars, poets, critics and translators to submit abstracts for papers and suggest panels and roundtables relevant to the overall issue of the conference Poetry. Experience. Attention. INSL, which by now has more than 350 members, established a series of biannual conferences in 2015 to bring together researchers, poets, critics, translators and doctoral students from all continents to discuss and develop research on the lyric and on poetry worldwide. Previous conferences have been held in Boston (2017), Lausanne (2019), and on Zoom (hosted by Leuven in 2021). The fourth conference in the series will take place in Oslo, 6 – 8 June 2023, with Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, as host. INSL also organizes symposia on Zoom, including one on translation in spring 2022, with another on the same subject scheduled for fall 2022.

Keynote speakers:
Derek Attridge, University of York
Lucy Alford, Wake Forest University
Mikael Meuller Males, University of Oslo
Magali Nachtergael, Bordeaux Montaigne University
Susan Kiguli, Makerere University

We invite paper and session proposals that address questions relevant to the wide range of issues suggested in this CFP and that approach those issues from a wide range of perspectives, areas and historical periods, in print poetry, visual poetry, sound poetry, film poetry, sung poetry, or digital poetry. Although lyric is the primary focus of the INSL, our focus for this conference is broad, and papers on epic, lyric and dramatic poetries as well as on poetry from all historical periods are welcome. Likewise, we welcome papers that discuss the question of materiality and media; media understood in a broad sense ranging from books, vellums, parchment scrolls, stones, computers, buildings, and human and non-human bodies and voices, and poetry in or in relation to basic media (or art forms) such as film, photography, paintings, sculptures, performance, media arts, music, and song.

Send an abstract of 300-500 words (including your affiliation) by December 15, 2022 to ( Presentations will be mainly in English. However, suggestions for panels in other languages are most welcome. Proposals for a group of 3–4 papers forming a panel are also welcome. In general, papers should be 20 minutes in length, each followed by 10 minutes for discussion; in a panel with 4 participants, 15 minutes per paper is the strict maximum.

The conference is free for everyone. A fee for the conference buffet will be announced at a later date.

No registration later than May 1, 2023.