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Brazilian Concrete Poetry as Anti-Literature

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 12, 2016. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center Boardroom
Meeting Description: 
On Wednesday, October 12, 6-8pm in the Humanities Center Boardroom, professor Adam Shellhorse will be visiting the Poetics Workshop to discuss a paper on Brazilian concrete poetry, part of his upcoming book on anti-literature. Professor Marília Librandi-Rocha from DLCL will serve as respondent. Please email armend@stanford.edu for the pre-circulated paper.
 
Adam Joseph Shellhorse is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Temple University (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), where he serves as the advisor of the Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Program. His research examines modern and contemporary Latin American literature and poetics, visual culture, critical theory and women’s writing, with particular emphasis on comparative Inter-American studies and the relationship between aesthetics, affect, and politics. He is the author of Anti-Literature: The Politics and Limits of Representation in Modern Brazil and Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, Illuminations, Forthcoming, Fall 2016). His recent work has appeared or soon will appear in Luso-Brazilian Review, Revista Hispánica Moderna, CR: The New Centennial Review, Política Común, The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, and The Cambridge Companion to Latin American Poetry. He is currently working on a second book that examines the problem of affect and politics in the experimental writings of Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Décio Pignatari, and Roberto Bolaño. Shellhorse also serves on the Brazilian section executive council of the Latin American Studies Association.
 
Of his paper, professor Shellhorse writes:
 
This paper, which is part of my forthcoming book entitled, Anti-Literature: The Politics and Limits of Representation in Modern Brazil and Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, Fall 2016), provides a new reading of the critical force of Oswald de Andrade’s notion of cannibalist thought (antropofagia).  Akin to the postcolonial idea of nationalizing the foreign and European, Andrade’s anthropophagia is usually understood as an apposite metaphor for identitarian ways of thinking culture, society and art.  In short, it is associated with the idea of creative consumption as an act of resistance: consuming foreign ideas within national criteria.  Shifting the terms of discussion on the legacy of anthropophagia through a reading of Andrade’s poetry, I argue that the critical force of his cannibalistic poetics lies not in identity but in its self-reflexive, multimedial defiance of representational logic.  Second, I investigate how the Brazilian concrete poets resuscitate Andrade’s poetics to take what they famously called “the participatory leap” into politics during the 1960s.  Through the cannibalization of popular media, advertisements, industrial design and the spectacle of capitalist ideology, I show how the concretes’ participatory poetics constitutes a new image of vanguard writing in Latin America—one that abandons the word-centered function to engage what the concrete poets deemed the post-literary, post-verbal era of late capitalism.
 
In the Workshop introduction, I will discuss how the paper fits within my book and elaborate on why a fresh understanding of the poetics of antropofagia and Brazilian concrete poetry is crucial for challenging the fundamental concepts of what is meant by “literature” in contemporary Latin American studies.

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