Dr Rebecca Kosick

BA Hons(Mich.), MA(Chic.), MA(C'nell), PhD(C'nell)

  • BS8 1TE

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research addresses interart relations with poetry, with particular interests in material poetics, multilingualism and translation, the politics of form, and participatory art. I work primarily on the 20th and 21st centuries, with a focus on artists and poets from the American hemisphere. At Bristol, I codirect the Bristol Poetry Institute and coordinate the Indisciplinary Poetics Research Cluster, which explores poetry’s connections with extrapoetic modes of inquiry and practice. My recent books include the monograph Material Poetics in Hemispheric America: Words and Objects 1950-2010  (2020) and the poetry collection Labor Day (2020). 

I am currently working on several related research projects. These include a book-length study of the Detroit-based “Alternative Press,” whose publications included letterpress and hand-made poetry postcards and mail art distributed between 1969 and 1999. This book will bring to light a significant archival collection of small batch and often one-of-kind aesthetic objects circulating by mail in the late twentieth-century United States by contributors such as Alice Notley, Victor Hernández Cruz, Diane di Prima, and Ray Johnson. 

A second monograph project underway, Multiverses: Languages of Contemporary Poetry cultivates a theory of poetic language that accounts for its contemporary multiplicity. Against the binary of ordinary v. poetic, Multiverses argues that poetic language today includes translingual literary deployment of words, letters, and sounds, but also means of communication that exceed verbal language itself—languages that are visual, material, scientific, and mathematical. It aims to broaden our frameworks for understanding the nature of poetic language and reconsider poetry's relationship to the literary arts. Chapters draw from diverse transatlantic sites including Cuba, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Canada, and Britain addressing work by figures such as Cecilia Vicuña, Ulises Carrión, Wanda Coleman, and bp Nichol. As a component of this research project, I am also collaborating with members of the Indisciplinary Poetics Research Cluster to publish Poetrishy, an experimental hub for investigating the convolution of poetry and mathematics (also available in print).

My current translation projects include Hélio Oiticica: Secret Poetics (forthcoming 2023). This book, for which I am editor, translator, and contributing author, includes facsimile renderings of the Brazilian artist’s original handwritten poems alongside their first English translations. Accompanying essays explore the relationship between Oiticica’s poetry and his better-known work in the plastic arts, such as the interactive objects from his bólide and parangolé series. Concurrently, I am translating Avant-Garde and Underdevelopment and other closely related 1960s essays by the Brazilian poet and theorist Ferreira Gullar. These works of leftist literary and cultural theory address the purpose and function of aesthetic production during a time of political repression and economic “underdevelopment,” with critical analyses of avant-garde and popular culture alike. 

In addition to my 2020 collection Labor Day, my own poetry and translations of poetry can be found in journals and literary publications such as Fence, the Iowa Review, Two Lines, and The Recluse. Recent work is available in JUKUB: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest and the Arts Council-funded collaborative exhibition Unreal Estates.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Bristol Poetry Institute

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