Beyond the Border: The Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963) Beyond the Border: The Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963)

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most seminal events in modern American poetry, the Vancouver Poetry Conference 1963 and to celebrate the UEA's School of American Studies is hosting a one-day conference on Saturday 23rd November intended to reassess the continuing legacies of the Vancouver Poetry Conference, coinciding with the UEA's own fiftieth anniversary.

Following the publication of Donald Allen's prescient The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, Warren Tallman and Robert Creeley gathered a number of the New American Poets together in Vancouver for three weeks of poetry readings, public lectures, workshops and roundtable discussions on contemporary experimental poetics. This occasion helped to consolidate and disseminate some of the major theoretical arguments informing experimental American poetry of the period and facilitated an unprecedented level of cross-fertilisation and dialogic exchange between current and successive generations of experimental North-American poets.

The conference is intended to reassess the continuing legacies of the Vancouver Poetry Conference, its participants and the open-form poetics being championed at it. Speakers will include David Arnold (author of Poetry and Language Writing: Objective and Surreal), Daniel Katz (author of The Poetry of Jack Spicer) and Miriam Nicholls (editor of The Holy Forest: The Collected Poems of Robin Blaser and The Fire: The Collected Essays of Robin Blaser). Postgraduate and early-career researchers from the UK, US and Canada will also be discussing issues such as:

• the dynamic relationships and intertextual dialogues between the participants (chiefly, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and Denise Levertov)
• the influence of the conference and its participants on the development of experimental Canadian poetics
• instances of Trans-Atlantic poetic exchange between North-America and British little-magazines, the notably absent Jack Spicer
• the general disregard and transgression of literal and conceptual borders endorsed by the open-forms of the New American Poets.  

Beyond the Border: The Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963) will also include a screening of the Canadian film-maker Robert Mc Tavish's new documentary The Line Has Shattered. This explores this landmark occasion in innovative North-American poetry using archive footage and interviews with some of the participants half a century later. In addition, Michael Palmer, one of the most important American poets writing today and an original attendee at the Vancouver Poetry Conference, will be giving a reading to conclude the event and help celebrate this important anniversary. 

Trailer for Robert Mc Tavish's The Line Has Shattered

Michael Palmer's Page at

Below are a list of links to the faculty pages of professors/lecturers who are presenting:

David Arnold
Jonathan Skinner
Daniel Katz
Miriam Nicholls


The current schedule is available to view here. Please note that the schedule is subject to change.


Book a place at Beyond the Border: The Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963)

DEADLINE – Friday 15 November 2013

Sorry, no refunds after this date. All refunds will be subject to a small administration fee.

Full delegate rate: £48.35

Postgraduate delegate rate: £32.45


- Place at daytime conference proceedings at UEA

- All daytime lunches and refreshments


- Evening meals

- Accommodation

- Travel

For any enquiries relating to the registration processes please contact


There are a number of Local Hotels & B&B's in the area. Please note this document is for information purposes only and bookings would need to be made independently from the conference and UEA.


Please download our Travel Guide for some general information on travelling to UEA.