Over the weekend I attended and spoke at the Poem Unlimited Conference at Augsburg. The venue, the Augsburg University, has a beautiful campus. The trees were in Autumn hues. I was narrated the story of a duck family in the University pond. A ledge was removed from one of the campus buildings so to lessen diving deaths in ducklings. The Augsburg University has its own resident cat with its Facebook page. A selfie with the cat is a must-do. I did see and pet the cat, however, missed taking a selfie.
Prof. Wai Chee Dimock gave the Key Note lecture on “Recycling the Gilgamesh.” The body was described in all its fragility. The violent element of death, and the processes we undertake to recycle the body were analyzed. The aggressive factor in recycling as an act of degradation offered a new way to look at biodiversity. After all, everything natural disintegrates, it is that which is man-made persists. What then happens to poetry as it ventures into art and theatre. In order to stay, we must recycle, to use again provides longetivity. But something, the person, object, aspect, gets lost in the act of recycling.
I enjoyed listening to talks about the Romantics, Czesław Miłosz, the African-American sonnet, and Walt Whitman’s Sufi side. I presented a paper on Agha Shahid Ali and Roger Sedarat’s ghazals, in which I explored how the beloved and witness lie entangled in their identity within the form.
The conference offered moments of insight and also a vision of what the future might hold. As we discussed and debated the transcience of physical matter, the regenerative spirit of nature, I left Augsburg sensing a hopefulness. Perhaps, the season, the theme, and my state of being mingled to create a mind that was prepared for Winter and the promise of a Spring – that always follows.