ELIT Seminar: “Good Sameness: Ben Lerner’s Song of the Fungible”, Daniel Katz, 5:30PM April 5 (EN)


Good Sameness: Ben Lerner’s Song of the Fungible

Wednesday 5 April 2023, 17:30
Room HZ-60

This talk will focus on the trope of the “fungible” in Ben Lerner’s work, to see how it organises several related concerns: the relationship of the poet or artist to the collective, the relationship between language, subjectivity and intimacy, and the relationship of the exchange of goods and labour under capitalism to both of the preceding. To explore these problems, we will look at texts such as “The Hatred of Poetry,” 10.04, The Topeka School, and Lerner’s first book of poems, The Lichtenberg Figures. As we shall see, “fungibility” emerges as an ambivalent figure stressing at once several crucial “incommensurabilities” along with poetry’s infinite, and thereby potentially sublime, ability to construct likeness.

Daniel Katz is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.