Poetics of Radical Vulnerability in Contemporary Literature (2019-)

Lea Schneider, RA 4: Literary Currencies
Doctoral Research Project

This project investigates poetry from Chinese, American/English and German writers who first started publishing their writings online (on Twitter, Instagram, Weixin, Weibo, etc.) and were later “discovered” by editors and publishers from the more traditional/established literary field. Schneider’s work considers the power struggles that emerge when poems originally written for an online audience are transferred into the analogue publishing industry and thereby stress the seemingly stable notion of literature. In such a transference, established standards of literariness take up poetry once oriented toward the very different expectations of an online audience for the unfiltered, authentic, colloquial, autobiographic or autofictional, and direct poetry of the internet. If such online literature makes itself vulnerable on all possible levels, this project addresses the question as to how far these “internet poetics” work with vulnerability – both in terms of form and content – and how this may serve as a special platform for agency and speech among marginalized expressivities, such as those of female*, queer or disabled writers. Last but not least, this project takes a look at the cross-genre, cross-language and cross-media translations and adaptations that, along with the rise of internet publication platforms and online language, enable these poetics to emerge. The scope of research will range from the Confessional Poetry of Sylvia Plath to performance artists such as Ana Mendieta and Tracy Emin. Poets to be investigated include Yu Xiuhua, Ianina Ilitcheva, Jenny Zhang, Rupi Kaur, Kate Tempest, Holly McNish, Chun Shu, Zheng Xiaoqiong, Stefanie Sargnagel, Patricia Lockwood, Lang Leav, and Puneh Ansari.