Director's Notes

JUNE 25 2024

Planning is now well underway for LCLC52, an event that would not be happening without the University of Louisville’s decision to hire Emily Ravenscraft as LCLC Conference Coordinator.  With Emily now integrated into the workflow, I am proceeding with my podcast series and recording interviews that will comprise season 3.

This season I continue to explore how to reshape the LCLC (both as an online entity and as an in-person conference) to heighten its appeal while staying true to its impulse to serve a community committed to furthering thought through art and culture.  Stay tuned for more about our lineup. I expect to start dropping episodes in August when the thoughts of certain odd birds turn to finalizing submissions for our beloved conference.

And as for me, I am back to finishing my Biberman Circle book.  Today I came across this heart-stopping note from my great-granduncle, Herbert Biberman, to his adopted daughter Joan (who he calls Jone and spells phonetically in the note). 


He is in our nation’s capital staying at the Shoreham on Connecticut at Calvert.  He is awaiting sentencing, found guilty for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Affairs Committee (HUAC), specifically for not answering the question: are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?  He writes:

Dear Jone –

Well, your daddy is still at liberty--the judge has been so busy--he has not yet been able to get to me--and it may be four or five days more before he acts.

In one way I am disappointed because the longer I wait to go and the longer it will be before I come out--but in a year a week doesn't make so much difference, does it?

The good thing about it is that I will probably see Mommy on Sunday -- and we can talk about our Jone and Danny together.

I sent you a gift from Washington and I think you will like it.

Now let me tell you what it is and remind you that it will probably take a week for it to reach you -- but that's not very long.

It is a doll--a kind of story-book doll--but a little larger.  She is dressed in Israeli colors and has a little Israeli flag.  Israeli means the nation of Israel which is the country just founded by the Jews as their own nation - for those Jews who do not have good countries of their own or good friends in other countries.

At any rate she is a very beautiful Israeli girl in a beautiful silk costume, and she winks her eyes like a sleeping doll -- and she will arrive to say “Your Daddy has thought of his Jone -- and is crazy about her.”

Daddy Herbert


 As director of the LCLC, I know that for over 50 years this conference has served as a premiere space for creators to come together. It is a space where we seek to understand and enjoy such stories as the ones that come from this one document in the Biberman archive. That Israeli doll with her winking eyes demands scrutiny. So does the Shoreham Hotel and the courtroom where Herbert will be given the surprising sentence of six months.  The ethos of the LCLC holds us accountable, exhorting us to, in the words of Rabbi Tarfon, remember that just because you will never complete your life's work does not excuse you from attempting to do so. 

I understand that I must work on it and I invite you to join us for LCLC52 and share with us your life’s work as well.



DECEMBER 29 2023

LCLC51 Seminar Descriptions and Sign Up Instructions


“Syllabus Mirabilis”: A Celebration of the Chapbooks

Seminar Leaders Jameson Welch and Krista Kane invite attendees to join them in an exploration of the vitality of material, physical chapbooks today.  Participants are invited to bring chapbooks and share them so that these books can remain on display for the length of the conference.  Inclined seminarians can talk about or read from their chapbooks during the session.


Interested conference attendees should contact Conference Director Matthew Biberman to be included.

SEMINAR TWO (FRIDAY 1:30 to 3:30)

The Art of A. B. Spellman

This seminar explores the long career of A. B. Spellman upon the occasion of the publication of New and Selected Poems. This volume compiles out-of-print poetry, previously unpublished poetry, and stunning new poetry. Participants of this seminar will come together to examine Spellman’s influence on African American poetry and culture since the mid-20th century. Mr. Spellman will serve as a panel discussant and respondent. Lauri Scheyer (editor of the forthcoming Spellman’s selected) will moderate. Confirmed participants include Meta DuEwa Jones, Ben Lee, Jean-Philippe Marcoux, Aldon Lynn Nelson, and Tyrone Williams.


Attendees interesting in attending the seminar as either a discussant or (possibly) as presenters are asked to contact Matthew Biberman.


Trad/Trans/After After

Across its 600 pages, Vivek Narayanan’s After (NYRB Poets, 2022) works itself out as an engagement between Valmiki’s Ramayana and constellations of modernist and contemporary Anglophone poetics. This experimental translation and epic in ever-multiplying fragments explores what it might mean to come “after,” in all possible senses.  We invite seminar participants to engage with After (particularly the “translation manifesto” provided below) as a launching point for open-ended contributions, critical and/or creative, that speak to new possibilities for experimental poetics.  Relevant topics might include:

  • Intersections within and among the literatures and cultural productions of world mythology (including but not limited to reimaginations of Greco-Roman traditions)
  • the fruitfulness and pitfalls of experimental techniques in translation
  • Documentary poetics and its weavings of experimental translation and politics
  • translation as traversing borders: cultural, temporal, sacred/secular
  • the place of poetics in theories of translation or world literature
  • the status of the fragment and its relation to epic
  • current debates around translation in a global moment of possibility and retreat

In addition to the translation manifesto taken from After, we are happy to provide a digital copy of After.  In the spirit of an Oulipian intervention, we suggest participants feel free to simply open After at a random page and put that page or section into conversation with their own current projects or thinking.  Promiscuity is encouraged.

— John Beer, Philip Krumrich, and Vivek Narayanan (Seminar Leaders)

Sentences Toward Another Manifesto of Translation Practice (from After)

Our central anxiety about translation today is our (relatively recent) anxiety over authorship.

Long live the wonderful friendship between translation and hoaxes! Every trans- lation is a hoax at least in the sense that it is not what it claims to be: the author’s “own words.”

A new translation should be seen as an addition, not a replacement: translation is additive.

Every work of translation begins as a study. No translation is innocent.

“Faithfulness”: a foil, a cover, an alibi. “Accuracy”: when examined, always a term of imprecision.

But translation is always possible. Translation is the new art of the possible.

And translation is originality. Commentary, transcription, and calligraphy are allied original arts.

Part of the (relatively recent) conspiracy of nations in poetry is the fencing off of translations, suppressed or repressed as if they belonged to other literatures and not ours. (A few token exceptions to help police the line).

In 1857, the native sepoys of the colonial army plotted rebellion “behind the back” of the administration, in languages it hadn’t bothered to learn well enough. In the wake of this surprise—after a spell of brutal, even mindless retribution against the native city—the colonists famously set about bringing the natives fully into English. They embarked on perhaps the widest, most intricate effort of translation ever. Land tenure, customary law, you name it. Nothing should escape the predatory eye of English, no “inaccurate” or freely improvised trans- lation should ever be allowed or admitted to. It was a task of gathering but also fixing. The technology of the dictionaries they compiled helped them in this; but it also helps us, today.

And the boundary between languages no longer clear.

If translation can no longer be a consolation, what kinds of pressure and investment must it be willing to undergo? Under what terms do we endure mediocrity?

True translation is soul-fusion technology. Technology: i.e., techne.

Every translation is a collaboration among many, including all those who have come to this terrain before you. I am indebted even to those translations whose approach I reject because they gave me the benefit of having something to reject.

If nothing is to be lost, something must first be gained. All poetry is translation.

All translation is not poetry.

Translation is movement not equivalence.

Count me out—from the translation that seeks to exile the source.


Attendees wishing to join this seminar should contact conference director Matthew Biberman.

DECEMBER 22 2023


Acceptance letters have gone out! If you are expecting an acceptance letter and have not received one please contact me. The LCLC is a conference that conducts admission through a selective screening process (of “peer review”). We do not accept all papers. If you did not receive an acceptance letter please contact me to verify status. If you want additional information regarding the reasons for the exclusion of your submission from the program, contact me and I will provide it.

I am now finalizing the program and am rearranging panels in order to accommodate cancellations and last minute additions. I will be issuing a follow up email with additional details in early January. If you are reading this note and are wondering if I can add you to the program, you should email me immediately. There is a wait list and as of today, I anticipate being able to place any approved applicant onto the program.



For our next conference we are automating our submission process. To submit you will need to do so here:

If you have questions and/or concerns don’t hesitate to reach out. I am here to do what I can to help you join us for what promises to be a fantastic conference.

I am thrilled to be joining forces with my friend Jerry Tolson uniting with the music school here at the University of Louisville to present our kick off keynote at Comstock Hall. I look foward to hearing Jerry and A. B. Spellman exploring the links between jazz and poetry.

The opportunity to hear the thoughts of Anna Kornbluh and the literary work of Maxine Chernoff rounds out another amazing slate of speakers. But none of it would be possible without the participation of our attendees. Here at the LCLC there is so much wonderful work to take in. We want you included so please consider submitting.

Check back here for more updates. We look forward to reviewing your work!

MARCH 10TH, 2023

LCLC50! It’s a Wrap!

Thanks to all attendees for making our 50th conference one for the ages! Over 400 participants gathered both in person and on-line to further a whole set of conversations, many of them now central to our various vibrant artistic communities. While it is important to reflect and to celebrate such a momentous achievement, we here at the LCLC are already excitedly planning our next confab–LCLC51.

Do you want to be a part of what promises to be the next great gathering? Please know that I and the other members of the LCLC team want you to join us, and we are happy to answer questions and do whatever we can to demystify and clarify the process so that you can.

LCLC50 saw the addition of exhibitor tables. If you are a press or a journal or offer a service of interest to our attendees we would love to hear from you.

LCLC50 saw the number of graduate students more than double from the prior year. Are you a graduate student with questions that need answering ? Again, please reach out to me.

We have added reduced pay rates for adjunct and retired faculty and we have always welcomed independent scholars or writers. We seek to include artists, writers and thinkers new to our community. Unsure? Reach out and let’s talk.

Are you unable to travel to Louisville? We are committed to offering truly outstanding on-line panels and presentations. We welcome all potential participants and encourage participants to consider presenting on-line. If you have questions, lets talk.

Finally, if you have suggestions about what we can do better, I want to hear from you. The first 50 years have been truly historic. LCLC51 promises to build on this rich tradition and break new ground.

I look forward to meeting you at the next LCLC.