The Historical Poetics members met at the University of Missouri for an event open to the public on May 19, 2018. Readings were from Herman Melville’s Clarel and George Eliot’s The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems. Our discussion with members of UM’s academic community addressed the ambitions and aims of this religious poetry: Melville’s strongly ambivalent response to the problems of modern Biblical criticism (including that translated by Eliot), Eliot’s investment in poetic song as a form of spiritual recuperation.  We spent some time speculating on genre and mulling over the erotic elements of both poets’ work, and contrasted their alternating humor and earnestness with that found in their famous novels.  Having just visited the famous Cahokia earthworks outside of St. Louis, we were especially interested in the problems of history in both poets’ work.