09-15-2016 Linda Kinnahan
View a recording of Dr. Kinnahan's presentation here.
Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Location: Berger Gallery (207 College Hall), Duquesne University
Title: Mina Loy's America at War: The Late Poems and Photojournalism's Rise
Presenter: Dr. Linda A. Kinnahan Professor of English Literature and Hillman Endowed Chair,
During and just after World War II, living in New York City, Mina Loy wrote a cluster of poems contemplating the war experience for combatants and noncombatants, for participants and victims. These poems, I argue, intersect with a primary form of visual war rhetoric developing in this decade. The rise of photojournalism, fueled by technology's capacity to reproduce and distribute images across a mass international market, enabled photography's role as a primary instrument of visually recording and communicating the events of the war. Historians of the genre often identify this moment as marking the maturation of photojournalism as a legitimized form of news reporting. Between the years of 1941 and 1945, as photojournalism came to maturity, the visual rhetoric of war it produced provides a significant context for discussing Mina Loy's war poems, drafted at different points of the conflict. These poetic renderings of wartime experience echo photojournalism's movements between often propagandistic representations-especially of heroism and familiarity with the troops-to atrocity and estrangement in in imaging the casualties of WWII in its final years and months. The intertwining of nationalistic discourse and photographic witness finds heightened complication in the photojournalistic treatment of the greatest atrocities, the Holocaust and the dropping of the atomic bomb. This paper will trace the directions of photojournalistic war coverage as they emerge in Loy's poetry, focusing particularly on the final poems of atrocity and the questions they raise about witness, representation, and war.
LINDA KINNAHAN is Professor of English at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She is editor of theCambridge History of 20th Century American Women's Poetry, and author of 2 forthcoming monographs, Mina Loy, Photography, and Contemporary Women Poets and Feminist Modernism, Poetics, and the New Economy: Mina Loy, Lola Ridge, and Marianne Moore (both from Routledge). She has published on modernist and contemporary poetry, including Poetics of the Feminine: Literary Tradition and Authority in William Carlos Williams, Mina Loy, Denise Levertov, and Kathleen Fraser (Cambridge UP 1994) and Lyric Interventions: Feminist Experimental Poetry and Contemporary Social Discourse (Iowa UP 2004). Her essays appear in journals that include Contemporary Women Writers, Contemporary Literature, Sagetrieb, and Poetry Review(UK), and in collections from Cambridge UP, Iowa UP, Blackwell, Edinborough UP, Wesleyan Up, and Oxford UP.
All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.
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