Wendy Lotterman graduated from NYU's department of Comparative Literature in September, 2022. She completed a dissertation titled "Lyric Interference: Possessive Individualism in American Case Law and Contemporary Poetry" under the supervision of Jay Garcia, Emily Apter, Fred Moten, and Hentyle Yapp. The project posits a link between lyric and liberal individualism through their shared naturalization of Lockean personhood in both Romantic poetry and British common law. Tracing the intellectual exportation of personhood-as-property through these two archives—US case law and contemporary poetry—it argues that a diverse group of politically engaged contemporary American lyric poets trouble the genre’s complicity with classical liberalism by performing a public rather than private subject, replacing individuation with socialization. The dissertation also engages with institutional critique through a focus on the co-emergence of postmodernism and ethnic studies in the late 20th century, a divide which consigns difference to a liberal framework of identity and inclusion. It argues that a similar rift exists in US poetry between conceptualism and the lyric, ultimately relegating difference to be expressed in a grammar of personal injury. The poets surveyed in the dissertation reprise the lyric in order to revise its alignment with individuation, freeing difference to be explored as both material and relational, rather than as the content of an identity that seeks recognition.
Wendy is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Core Curriculum at NYU. She is an associate editor of Parapraxis, a new psychoanalytic magazine for which she also co-organizes a biweekly seminar. Her first full-length collection of poetry, A Reaction to Someone Coming In, will be published by Futurepoem in 2023.