Estíbaliz Encarnación Pinedo presents a panel titled “Beat generation goddess ruth weiss (re)considered” for the British Association of American Studies digital conference, April 8, 2021, in support of the book ruth weiss Beat Poetry, Jazz, Art (De Gruyter 2021).
European Beat Studies Network
Chad Weidner Reaching Towards the Light: Transitory Spaces and the Negated Material Body in Selected Texts by ruth weiss
Ben Heal ruth weiss: Transnationalism and Resistance
Polina Mackay ruth weiss and the Poetics of the Desert
Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo Gender and identity in ruth weiss
Stefanie Pointl Place, Movement, and Identity in ruth weiss’s Poetry
Peggy Pacini ruth weiss: a poetics grounded in intermediality and performance
Frida Forsgren ruth weiss and painted haikus
Thomas Antonic The ruth weiss Papers
Abstract: This session brings together a selection of European Beat Studies Network members to
redress, and in some cases introduce, the work produced by Beat-associated poet ruth weiss (1928-
2020). Conceived as flash presentations (limited to 10 minutes followed by workshop-like discussions)
the aim is to offer a wide selection of critical and aesthetic points of entrance into weiss’s work.
Chair: Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo
ruth weiss: Transnationalism and Resistance
Benjamin J. Heal resituates and recovers the work of weiss through a transnational context of poetic
experimentalism, outlining the many liminalities in her life, art and writing, with a particular focus on her ongoing attack on the conventions of authorship and constructions of the singular literary genius
through the use of contradiction, collaboration and various forms of multimedia expression.
ruth weiss and the Poetics of the Desert
Polina Mackay explores ruth weiss’ depiction of the desert as a multifaceted symbol of contrasting
values. She compares weiss’s images of the desert as a local of both light and shadow or life and death to the socio political poems of poets like Sandra Osborne which write against America’s wars beyond its border (e.g., invasion of Iraq). The aim is to encourage discussion on ruth weiss’s relevance to current concerns in American poetry.
Gender and identity in ruth weiss
Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo explores ruth weiss’s complication and blurring of established
categorizations through which she documents both the struggle and the balance, the exclusion and the dissolution of the (de)gendered selves that inhabit her work. To study the ways in which weiss’s
resolves these tensions, she analyzes the thematic traits as well as the stylistic choices that allow weiss to write beyond gender in collections such as Steps (1958), Desert Journal (1977) or Single Out (1978).
The ruth weiss Papers
Thomas Antonic delivers an overview and evaluation of the ruth weiss papers. The aim of it is to
provide scholars with information about the content and extent of published and unpublished written
and audiovisual material, as well as other documents such as photographs and correspondence. It is
intended, for future analyses, to make scholarship aware of the vast amount of works ruth weiss has
created over the past seven decades which go far beyond the scope of her published poetry collections that were the only subject of studies to date.
Place, Movement, and Identity in ruth weiss’s Poetry
Stefanie Pointl examines the representation of movement in ruth weiss’s autobiographical poetry,
arguing that weiss, as an Austrian American Beat writer and Holocaust survivor, provides an alternative perspective on the recurrent Beat theme of mobility. In her writing, she constructs a transnational identity founded on border-crossing movements and the resulting interpersonal connections. Through depictions of both physical and metaphorical journeys, weiss’s poetry portrays movement as a unifying link between people from different cultural backgrounds that replaces national origins as a source of identification.