In March 2015, the American writer Kenneth Goldsmith was widely condemned after a disastrous public reading in which he performed a found poem appropriated from the autopsy of a black teenager. Meanwhile, in the late Elizabethan 1500s, the English poet John Donne wrote a ribald elegy he would later attempt to suppress for his entire lifetime—a ostensible striptease with a mystifying twist. What do these two poets writing four hundred years apart have to do with each other? Through a comparative close reading that sets the invention of print against the development of the World Wide Web, this seminar traces the historical, technological, and legal entanglements between media technologies and lyric poetry.
Samuel Caleb Wee is a PhD candidate at the English department of the University of British Columbia, under the HASS International PhD Scholarship offered by Nanyang Technological University. His current research is focused on examining the way social media has impacted the lyric subject in contemporary poetry. As a creative writer, his work has appeared in QLRS, Of Zoos, Esquire, and Moving Worlds. He is the co-editor of this is how you walk on the moon, an anthology of anti-realist fiction published by Ethos Books in 2016.