May 20, 2008


Refashioning Myth: Poetic Transformations and Metamorphoses
Thurs 2 – Fri 3 October 2008
The University of Melbourne

My mind leads me to speak of new forms changed / into new bodies/
Ovid, Metamorphoses

T]he poet’s first enrichment is a knowledge and understanding of myths
Robert Graves, The White Goddess


Ancient poetic texts tell us that the deeds of gods and heroes have long been a central concern of the poet. Recent texts, such as those by Simon Armitage and Don Paterson, would suggest that this tenet holds true for the contemporary poet as much as it did for the ancients. The recent series of mythic rewritings which have appeared under the auspices of The Myths project exemplify how mythic poetry can be self-consciously refashioned for contemporary culture. But how, and why, do age-old mythologies still hold relevance in the twenty-first century? This conference encourages poets and scholars to reassess the role of myth in poetry, to examine and produce poetic engagements with myth.

Confirmed Keynotes:
Dorothy Porter, Chris Wallace-Crabbe

We invite academic papers, panels and creative responses (spoken word/performance poetry, installations/visual art) that consider, but are not limited to, the following:

Poetry adapted or extended from earlier mythic traditions;
Poetic translation and trans-cultural adaptations;
Contemporary responses to and readings of mythic poetry across different genres and media (film, television, visual arts, drama, dance, prose, theory);
The generation of new mythic poetry and the role of myth in contemporary culture;
Mythic poetry in Australian contexts;
Non-Western myths: Norse sagas, Celtic folklore, Middle Eastern aetiological myths, indigenous cultures, etc.
Academic papers (20 minutes) – send a 300 word abstract to the address below.
Spoken word / Performance poetry (20 minutes) – send an extract (no more than 5 pages / 3-5 poems) and a synopsis of the proposed performance.
Installation/visual art – examples of the art work, any audio-visual equipment required.
Abstracts should be sent to by Monday 28 April 2008. Any queries should be directed to the conference convenors (David McInnis, Eric Parisot, and Jess Wilkinson) at the above address. A selection of papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the American journal, Studies in the Literary Imagination.

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