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Contemporary British Poetry and the Long 1980s: From Deregulation to Self-Regulation

This conference is partly a response to Sean O’Brien’s 1995 hypothesis on the deregulation of British poetry since the 1980s.

  • From June 15th to June 16th

  • 09:30 - 18:00
  • Colloque
  • 15/06 : Maison de la recherche, Amphithéâtre Molinié.
    16/06 : Université Paris-Est Créteil, Salle des thèses, bâtiment I, Campus Centre, 61 av. du Général de Gaulle, 94000 Créteil.
    To register, send an email.


While Margaret Thatcher proclaimed that "there [was] no alternative" (TINA) to economic liberalism and economic deregulation, poetry in Britain seems to have produced alternatives only, an increasing range of aesthetic alternatives.

Are we today still living in the wake of this 1980s aesthetic turn? Where have new poetics emerged since then? What significant formal innovations—in terms of diction, prosody or rhythm—have been produced by this “deregulation” of British poetry? Has the questioning of all forms of poetic authority and centrality led to a self-regulation of the various parts of the poetic scene? Has this in turn led to more innovation, and poetic freedom, or, on the contrary, has it created more pressure for poets to keep to their own corners of the poetry market?

This two-day conference will be an attempt at addressing some of those questions.

Organizing committee

  • Elise Brault-Dreux, lecturer at the Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France (UPHF)
  • Bastien Goursaud, professor at the Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC)
  • Claire Hélie, lecturer at the Université de Lille
  • Juliette Utard, lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sorbonne University 

Guest speakers

  • Laure-Hélène Anthony-Gerroldt (Université de Bourgogne)
  • Sarah Bouttier (École Polytechnique)
  • Alix Cazalet-Boudigues (Université Lyon 3)
  • Adriano Elia (University of Rome)
  • Iain Halliday (University of Catania)
  • Michael Hinds (Dublin City U.)
  • Julie Irigaray (University of Huddersfield)
  • Monica Manolachi (University of Bucharest)
  • Andrew McMillan (Manchester Metropolitan University), poet
  • Deryn Rees-Jones (University of Liverpool), lecturer
  • Lacy Rumsey (ENS Lyon)
  • Fiona Sampson (U niversity of Roehampton), lecturer
  • John Sannaee (Université Paris 8)
  • Mike Sweeting (Durham University)
  • Eva Zettelmann (University of Vienna)


This conference is organized by the research unit "Voix anglophones, littérature et esthétique"  (VALE), with funding from the "Fonds d’Intervention pour la recherche" of Sorbonne University, the Institut des mondes anglophone, germanique et roman (IMAGER) of the Université Paris-Est Créteil, the Laboratoire de recherche sociétés & humanités (LARSH) of the Université Polytechnique des Hauts de France, and the Centre d'études en civilisations, langues et lettres étrangères  (CECILLE) of the Université de Lille.

Location of the event

Maison de la recherche
Amphithéâte Molinié

28 rue Serpente - 75006 Paris

Sorbonne Université - Faculté des Lettres
Maison de la recherche
28 rue Serpente 75006 Paris

Voix anglophones, littérature et esthétique (VALE)

L'unité de recherche VALE fédère depuis 2006 l’ensemble des chercheurs en littérature et en esthétique du domaine anglophone de la Faculté des Lettres de Sorbonne Université. Les travaux de VALE s'articulent autour de deux axes et huit programmes.