Robert Lax

June 15-18: 2017 International Thomas Merton Society Conference Will Feature Presentations on Robert Lax

The 2017 International Thomas Merton Society Conference is coming up next week, June 15-18.  Because it is being held at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY, Robert Lax’s hometown, it will feature a number of presentations on Lax, including my keynote address, “Harpo and the Clown of God: The Seven-Storied Friendship of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax.”

The other keynote speakers will be: M. Shawn Copeland, Luke Timothy Johnson, and Scott Russell Sanders.

The other Lax features will be:

  1. a general session titled “Robert Lax: In His Own Words.”
  2. a showing of the Nicolas Humbert/Werner Penzel film “Why Should I Buy a Bed When All That I Want Is Sleep?” featuring a look at Lax in his Patmos home and reading his poetry.
  3. Lax’s Psalm with spoken word, dance and piano by Christine Bachich and Jacqueline Chew

Click here for registration information and here for a full list of conference presentations.

A Lax Exhibit at St. Bonaventure University Features Harry Jackson’s Life-Size Portrait

A couple of months ago, I made a post about the life-size painting of Lax done by Harry Jackson back in 1962 (see the original post).  I said in my post that I didn’t know where the painting is now.  Well, at this moment, it is in an exhibit of Lax’s writings and photographs at the Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University, thanks to the generosity of Lax’s niece Marcia Kelly and her husband Jack.  You can read about the exhibit here.  Normally, it hangs in the Harry Jackson Institute in Cody, Wyoming.  Here’s the title card:

For those of you going to the International Thomas Merton Society conference at St. Bonaventure this June, be sure to stop by the Center for a look.  The exhibit just opened this month, so I’m sure it will still be around then.  Here are a couple more looks:

Concrete Poetry Conference in Honor of Robert Lax: Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 2017

St. Bonaventure University in Robert Lax’s hometown of Olean, NY, will be honoring him March 31-April 1, 2017 with a conference called  Never Abolish Chance: The Concrete Poetry Conference.

Poets and critics who were part of the Concrete Poetry movement in the later part of the 20th century embraced Lax as a kind of forefather and included his work in books and articles about the movement.  This helped to bring his work greater attention, including more serious critical study.

The keynote speakers for the conference will be John Beer, Renee Gladman, and Evie Shockley.

John Beer is the editor of poems (1962-1997), a selection of Robert Lax’s  poetry published by Wave Books in 2013.  His own works of poety include The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books, 2010), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America; a chapbook, Lucinda (Spork Press, 2013); and the full-length verse novella of Lucinda (Canarium Books, 2016).

Renee Gladman‘s works of prose include Juice (Kelsey Street Press, 2000), The Activist (KRUPSKAYA, 2003), Newcomer Can’t Swim (Kelsey Street Press, 2007), and To After That (Toaf) (Atelos, 2008). Her recent title include Calamities (Wave Books, 2016), and the Ravicka novels Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013). In 2014-2015 she was a fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she worked on Prose Architectures, an interdisciplinary project exploring the continuum between sentences and drawings. Gladman has taught at several U.S. universities, most extensively as a professor of creative writing at Brown University from 2006-2014.

Evie Shockley is the author the new black, winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, a half-red sea, and a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (Iowa University Press, 2011). Her honors include the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize, fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and residencies at Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Shockley is an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ.

Proposals

Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers or 500-word abstracts for panels/roundtables to Concrete@sbu.edu. Proposals will be accepted until January 10. Accepted participants will be notified by January 25.