Bulletin News

Poet to Discuss Disability and Aesthetics


Michael Snediker, a poet and University of Houston associate professor of English, will give a reading and lecture that explores disability theory as well as aesthetics across 19th century America on Tuesday, April 21, at SUNY Cortland.

Both the reading at 11:40 a.m. and lecture at 4:30 p.m. will be in Brockway Hall, Jacobus Lounge. They are free and open to the public.

Snediker’s poetry reading will include selections from his published work, The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (Punctum, 2013) and a forthcoming work, The New York Editions, which translates Henry James’s novels into lyric poems.

His lecture, “Weaver’s Handshake, Grave Rubbing: Sedgwick and Chronicity,” is based on his research for a book about the esthetics of chronic pain. The book, currently under contract with University of Minnesota Press, will be titled Contingent Figure: Aesthetic Duress from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.

“This venture differs from work in disability studies that might take a given literary or otherwise aesthetic representation of chronic pain as the point of departure for an account of chronic pain as a lived experience,” Snediker said about his upcoming lecture. “Rather, Contingent Figure meditates on chronic pain as an aesthetic object.”

The program continues the College’s 2014-15 Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC) series, themed this year on “R/Evolution.” The presentations question the notion that evolution represents positive change and underscores how timeless issues seem to reassert themselves in the present.

At University of Houston, Snediker teaches courses in early American literature, modernism, poetics, queer theory, disability theory, and aesthetics.

“He’s a major figure in gay poetry and queer theory,” said Tyler Bradway, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of English. “I think his work will really appeal to anyone interested in contemporary representations of gender and sexuality.”

Snediker’s poetry has not only been published in his own collections but appeared in The Cortland Review, an online publication that was founded in 1997 in Cortland but is not associated with SUNY Cortland, The Paris Review, Blip Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, Court Green, Blackbird, Jubilat, Margie and Pleiades.

In his widely reviewed book Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions, Snediker offers new perspectives on his subject through close readings of Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop and Jack Spicer. Published in 2013 by Punctum Books, Queer Optimism was a finalist for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award.

He has held poet’s residencies at the James Merrill House and Yaddo.

MIchael Snediker
Michael Snediker

Snediker has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to the CICC, the talk is supported by the offices of the President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Professional Studies, Dean of Education, and Multicultural Life and Diversity; the English Department; the Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; and the Campus Artist and Lecture Series.

For more information on Snediker’s talk, contact Bradway. For information on the “R/Evolution” series, contact the co-chair, Associate Professor of History Scott Moranda, at 607-753-2052.