Saturday, July 24, 2010



I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless there’s a subway handy or a record store or some sign that people do not totally regret life.
–Frank O’Hara, “Meditations in an Emergency”

Scheduled for publication by Ahsahta Press in May 2012, and edited by Joshua Corey & G.C. Waldrep, The Arcadia Project seeks to explore the relationship between the postmodern and the pastoral in contemporary North American poetry.

In the twenty-first century it is only a short leap from civilization and its discontents—from the violent inequities of the “global village”—to the postmodern pastoral. Postmodern and pastoral: two exhausted and empty cultural signifiers recharged and revivified by their apparent antipathy, united by the logic of mutual and nearly assured destruction. With gas and food prices climbing, with the planet’s accelerated warming, with the contraction of our cheap-energy economy and the rapid extinction of plant and animal species, both the flat world of global capitalism and the green world of fond memory are in the process of vanishing before our eyes. As Frederic Jameson once remarked, “It seems to be easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imaginations.” It is to that question of imagination—dystopian and utopian—that this anthology addresses itself.

Any work that address the pastoral in a postmodern idiom, vocabulary, or context, or vice versa, is welcome. Please send up to 20 pages of poetry, in standard electronic format (PDF, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .wpd) to Josh Corey & G.C. Waldrep at postmodernpastoral [at] gmail [dot] com. Deadline: 9/1/10.

We look forward to reading your work.

+ + +

OK, so I’ve never understood what pastoral poetry is, really, outside of some shepherds talking about how much the city sucks, but I do think the idea of the “postmodern pastoral” is fascinating, in the “Elegy for the Robot Swain” sort of way. So I’ll tell you what, I’ll try to write some if you do. What do you say? We have just over a month!


At 7/24/2010 9:01 AM, Anonymous Glen said...

You brought out a good challenge... I wonder if James Wright had the same idea in mind when he wrote "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm"...

For me—this will take more than just a little bit of experimentation.

At 7/24/2010 9:47 AM, Blogger Justin Evans said...

I think the poem you wrote during our conversations fits well into this category.

"We Should All Try Harder"

At 7/24/2010 11:04 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Don't give me an out! I want a reason to write something new. I've been feeling a little out in the woods lately.

At 7/25/2010 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since this is an anthology, and not a journal, is previously published material acceptable for submission?

Thanks in advance.

At 7/25/2010 6:36 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

A reputable source tells me the answer is yes.

At 7/25/2010 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, John. I appreciate it.


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