“Subjects of the Law: The Poetic Legacy of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony”
Jena Osman, Ph.D. (Department of English)
CHAT Faculty Fellow 2022–2023
Abstract: In the 1930s, Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff began his epic project of radically distilling volumes of American law reports into a series of poems gathered together under the title Testimony: The United States (1885-1915). This work was foundational in the field of documentary poetics, where hidden/suppressed histories are revealed through poetic treatment of official documents. My talk will discuss Reznikoff’s creative process in writing Testimony and look at recent examples by a range of contemporary poets who are expanding upon his poetics.
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