'Maybe, it is only on Earth / that we lose the body?'

Williams and the decaying body

Contact sheet (detail), ca. 1960, Beinecke Library Special Collections (photo by Harry Grossman).

The most compelling feature of William Carlos Williams’s poetry, for me, has perhaps always been the complex tango of virility and fragility that fight it out in his deeply autobiographical poetry. The idea that man could be both potent and capable of great frailty was a fact of his work that resonated with the vigorous and clumsy youth I was when I first encountered his work. Williams traces the deterioration and ultimate betrayals of his body in his poetry, reflecting on both the particularities of his condition and the universals of aging.

Close listening with Keith Waldrop, 2009

Keith Waldrop reads at the Kelly Writers House, 2009.

Editorial note: The following has been adapted from a Close Listening conversation recorded November 5, 2009, at the Kelly Writers House for PennSound and Art International Radio. Keith Waldrop was born in Kansas and attended a fundamentalist high school in South Carolina. His pre-med studies were interrupted when he was drafted to be an army engineer. He received his PhD in comparative literature from the University of Michigan in 1964. Waldrop and his wife, Rosmarie Waldrop, have coedited Burning Deck Press since 1968.

The signature public (PoemTalk #86)

Tyrone Williams, 'Written By H'Self' & 'Cant'

Tyrone Williams

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Alan Golding, Lily Applebaum, and Herman Beavers joined Al Filreis in the Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House — the first time PoemTalk recorded in the new studio — to discuss two short poems by Tyrone Williams that appear in the book published by Omnidawn in 2008 called On Spec. The two poems appear in the book’s first section, called “Eshuneutics.” “Written By H’Self” [text] is the first poem in the section and the very first in the book. “Cant” [text] appears fourth in the book.

First reading of Cecil Taylor's '#6.56' (5)

Donato Mancini

I have decided to take the “First Reading” framework literally, as “First Hearing.” I’ll take advantage of my ability to pause the MP3 as I go along to type notes about what I’m hearing, in real time. (When I’m out at a concert or out seeing a film I often wish I could hit “pause” or “rewind.”)

Engagement, race, and public poetry in America

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Ansel Adams, “Roy Takeno at town hall meeting, Manzanar Relocation Center,” (courtesy the Library of Congress).

Has American poetry become more engaged with public events, more politically relevant, in the opening years of the twenty-first century? That is the claim made by The New American Poetry of Engagement, an anthology edited by Ann Keniston and Jeffrey Gray and published in 2012.

Ariel Resnikoff interviews Yosuke Tanaka

PennSound podcast #47

Yosuke Tanaka and Ariel Resnikoff

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The poet and translator Yosuke Tanaka visited Philadelphia and the Kelly Writers House in late 2014. The purpose of his visit was threefold: to join a scientific conference on cell biology; to see the Writers House in person after spending much time there virtually as a participant in the open online course called “ModPo”; and to sit down in the Wexler Studio with Ariel Resnikoff to talk about contemporary Japanese poetry.

Complex orphaning

One could write an essay placing “The Search Party,” the first poem in Jose Perez Beduya’s debut collection, Throng, in the context of other poems of landscape and complex orphaning, from Blake’s “The Little Boy Lost” to Roethke’s “The Lost Son” to the William Matthews’s poem with which Beduya’s shares a title.

Reality Studios, 1978–88 (ed. Ken Edwards)

reissue
from Reality Studios, Vol. 8, 1986
from Reality Studios, Vol. 8, 1986

Over the course of its ten-year span, Reality Studios introduced a vital new interface between the various permutations around the British Poetry Revival in the UK and emergent strands of Language writing in the US. Edited by Ken Edwards and published in London, the magazine followed Alembic (1973–78) and immediately preceded Edwards’s Reality Street press, which continues publishing experimental poetry and prose to this day. First released in April of 1978, the magazine was originally published as a monthly corner-stapled newsletter. These issues were mimeographed on A4 sheets with a Roneo duplicator. Continuing this format, Reality Studios was issued in a quarterly cycle throughout volumes two and three.

Recreate that thing!

review

Not everything Gertrude Stein wrote is worth calling poetry. Stein says so herself in “Poetry and Grammar,” because “for me the problem of poetry was and it began with Tender Buttons to constantly realize the thing anything so that I could recreate that thing.”[1] This pronouncement on Tender Buttons directly contrasts with her account of The Making of Americans in the same lecture and, we presume, to the present participle-filled portraits consuming Stein’s attention pre-1912 — these she would call prose.