Ron Silliman’s reputation, as critic, theorist, exponent of poetry’s production as a socially relevant and collective act, arguably has preceded and to a degree guided how his poetry is to be received. But if a reader responds to the poetry, then how and what does she or he see and hear? “I’m writing to you,” the text says in the section called “Lit.” What is reading the Alphabet “like,” for you?
After three decades of composition, the Alphabet is complete, and published under one cover (University of Alabama Press, 2008). This inaugural symposium aims to invite readings of Ron Silliman’s long poem, including critical engagements with its formal and socio-historical dynamics as well as with the contexts and interpretive frames that have accrued around the author’s time and work.