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Adam Beardsworth

Faculty and Staff

Adam Beardsworth, B.A. (Hons.) (Mount Allison), M.A., Ph.D. ​(Memorial University); 

Assistant Professor –​​ Department of English

Office: AS332K
Phone:  (709)637-6217
Email: abeardsworth@grenfell.mun.ca 

Teachin​g Interests

·         Modern and contemporary literature

·         Critical theory

Research Interes​ts

·         Intersections between literature and ideology

·         Cold war consensus culture

·         Nuclearism

·         Ecological catastrophe

·         Poetry and biopolitics

·         The relationship between poetry and somatic pain

Recent Publications

"Bipartisan Poetry in the 1950s: A Response to Frank J. Kearful's 'Signs of Life in Robert Lowell's 'Skunk Hour'" Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 24.2 (Fall 2015). forthcoming.

"The Wreckage of Self: Usable Waste in Steffler's That Night We Were Ravenous." Studies in Canadian Literature 39.1 (2014)

"And I am the King of May": Allen Ginsberg's Travel Poetry and the Cold War Politics of Dissent." Politics, Identity, and Mobility in Travel Writing. Ed. Miguel Cabanas et al. New York: Routledge, 2016. 212-225. (forthcoming).

"Weapons of Choice: Pain and Violence in the Ecological Poetics of Rene Char and John Thompson." Canadian Poetry. 72 (2013): 65-85.

"The Poetics of Double-talk: John Berryman's Dream Songs as Cold War Testimonials." Exegesis 1.1 (2013) 32-40. Web.

"Natural's Not in It": Postcolonial Wilderness in Steffler's The Grey Islands." Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 25.1 (2010) 91-114.

"Learning to Love the Bomb: Robert Lowell's Metaphors of Madness." Canadian Review of American Studies 40.1 (2010) 95-116.

"Writing From the Sidelines: Peripheral Critique in Glover's "State of the Nation." Short Story 13.1 (2005) 35-46.

Recent Awards

Honourable Mention, CAAS Ernest Redekop Essay Prize 2011

Current research projects and grants

Vancou​ver 1963: Crossroads of the Canadian Avant-Garde

This project is now com​plete and the manuscript has been sent to ELS at the University of Victoria, where it is under peer review. For this project Marc Thackray and I edited a collection on the Vancouver Poetry Conference of 1963. We received several essay submissions and numerous interviews with key writers associated with the event, including Fred Wah, George Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, Michael Palmer, and Clark Coolidge.

The purpose of this colle​​ction is to address this critical gap by compiling essays that explore the significance of the Vancouver Poetry Conference in relation to the vibrant schools of postmodern Canadian and/or North American poetry that emerged in its aftermath. The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference has often been cited as a germinal moment in the development of a Canadian poetic avant-garde. Held at the University of British Columbia, the conference was actually a three-week credit course program taught primarily by a delegation of "New" American poets, including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and Philip Whalen. Each of these poets had recently appeared in Donald Allen's groundbreaking New American Poetry anthology (1960) which announced a movement towards the radical in the scope of American poetics. These American poets, along with the lone Canadian delegate Margaret Avison, brought their radical vision to a group of young student/poets whose subsequent works helped to shape and define postmodern and avant-garde Canadian poetry, including Fred Wah, Daphne (Buckle) Marlatt, Frank Davey, Phyllis Webb, George Bowering, Gladys Hindmarch. Also in attendance were the young Americans Clark Coolidge and Michael Palmer, whose work has left an enduring impression on postmodern poetics. While the impact that the conference and its delegates had on these poets has been acknowledged in editorials, memoirs, essays, and the occasional critical study, to date a sustained critical study of the event and its implications for Canadian poetry has yet to be published.

Selves Split Asunder: The Biopo​litics of Cold War Poetry

For this project I have substantially reworked and re​vised research initially completed for my dissertation. McGill-Queens University Press expressed interest in the work in 2010. However, I allowed that interest to wane as I became more invested in my edited collection on the Vancouver poetry conference. Recently, however, McGill-Queens editor Jonathan Crago contacted me and reassured me of the press's continued interest. It is now my goal to complete and submit the manuscript by the end of 2016. Indeed, many of my conference presentations and publications are based on this work, and I have spent several weeks in archives enhancing my knowledge of the area. Therefore I feel the manuscript will come together fairly quickly at this point.

The Poetics of Terror: Writing Pain in Cold War​ and 9/11 Poetry

This project, for which I received a $4500 SSHRC/Vice President's Research Grant in 2013, aims to elucidate the relationship between mental suffering and representations of physical pain in literature that engages the moments of epochal crisis and cultural transformation that have defined twentieth and t​​wenty-first century Western civilization. The grant has allowed me to do substantial archival research. I have visited archives at Harvard's Houghton Library, The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and John Berryman archives in Minnesota and Dublin. I have researched the papers of authors such as John Berryman, Robert Lowell, and Archibald MacLeish, and public figures such as Robert Oppenheimer. I have also spent substantial time analyzing newspapers and magazines associated with the early Cold War period and nuclear crises. This research will allow me to better understand how a diverse range of modern and postmodern poets have consistently evoked a poetics of physical pain when confronted by acute moments of psychological suffering induced by repressive and/or catastrophic social, cultural, or political events. It will consider how poets, when addressing traumatic events and paradigms including Cold War repression, nuclear anxiety, terrorism, and most recently the crisis of global ecological catastrophe, have used images of torture, mutilation, and the biological body in pain as means of defining a vestige of individual subjectivity against ideologically-motivated socializations of sentience.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chair, English

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: AS332D
Phone: (709) 637-6219
Email: lsherlow@grenfell.mun.ca