Apocalypse Lovers: Co-Conceiving Our Own Demise

Sunday, Apr 21, 3:00pm
Rm 250, Healing Center

The apocalypse is already here, and we ourselves were the horsemen the whole time. What we do as writers is use poetry as a means of confronting the enormity of our future, the idea of "reckoning with our reckoning" being a necessary first step, but that confrontation inevitably involves more a long look in the mirror, as the apocalyptic imaginary forms a strategic intersection between our life and death drives: We recognize and even crave the sick justice of finally dying by our own hand and putting an end to the onslaught of indecipherable noise, but let's romp and revel a little more before the tide rolls in, eh? This panel will present four poets' takes on writing the apocalypse--however wide-reaching or personal their interpretations of that term. Rather than stick solely to the tenor of political discourse, then, much of the poetry presented will focus instead on issues of pleasure, intimacy and tenderness--what you would seek if you were personally given an expiration date--and the way such tenderness can and does turn violent. By looking at the way our own relationships reflect the sadistic urge to make our mark and have real influence over our environment, we can almost see that initial spectral spark behind the past 200 years of industrial violence against our planet as a classic example of intimacy-turned-abuse. The panel will also explore how place and eco-poetics can shape apocalyptic writing, as participants come together from various U.S. backgrounds including, among other foreboding American milieus, the rural North qua ghost town of the bygone middle class, the Appalachian opioid crisis and continued  exploitation through the Shale Revolution, and the Gulf Coast's own rising water levels and over-industrialized wetlands. New Orleans has long been famous for being the land falling into the sea, and we are the writers here to witness it--and acknowledge our close-knit complicity.