The 'now what' question of music and poetics

Rodrigo Toscano with Clare Louise Harmon

Photo of Clare Harmon by Chloé Azzopardi. Photo of Rodrigo Toscano by Clare Welsh.

Note: I first met Rodrigo through a mutual friend at a gallery opening; I think I said something about being a classical musician, because, there, among the photographs, Rodrigo launched into a thick analysis of Frescobaldi and Couperin (the elder); I remember being completely shocked at the level of knowledge — something I hadn’t experienced since my days in graduate school. Maybe we talked about Ligeti’s Continuum (a favorite of mine), too.

Note: I first met Rodrigo through a mutual friend at a gallery opening; I think I said something about being a classical musician, because, there, among the photographs, Rodrigo launched into a thick analysis of Frescobaldi and Couperin (the elder); I remember being completely shocked at the level of knowledge — something I hadn’t experienced since my days in graduate school. Maybe we talked about Ligeti’s Continuum (a favorite of mine), too.

Find me the rage (PoemTalk #149)

Kamau Brathwaite, 'Negus'

Kamau Brathwaite in the early 1990s. Credit: New York University archive.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis convened a conversation with Amber Rose Johnson, Jacob Edmond, and Huda Fakhreddine about Kamau Brathwaite’s “Negus.” The poem was included in the book Islands, published by Oxford in 1969. “Negus” appears as part six of a section of the book titled “Rebellion” within Islands, and Islands, in turn, is part two of The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy, which includes Rights of Passage and Masks as the first and third volumes. Brathwaite’s PennSound page — which has been curated by one of our PoemTalkers, Jacob Edmond — features just one recording of Brathwaite performing this poem. On May 1, 2004, in his Segue Series reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, the poet chose to read “Negus” as a kind of prefatory piece to the whole forty-three-minute reading. It certainly seems to introduce several of Brathwaites major concerns.

Navigating distance in locality

An interview with Tom Patterson, featuring photographs by Jonathan Williams

Photo of Tom Patterson taken by Jonathan Williams in 1980 at the Ocmulgee National Monument. Courtesy of Tom Patterson.

Note: I initially reached out to Tom Patterson in June 2019 with a research inquiry related to poets practicing in the American South during the late 1970s and ’80s. Although he’s now known primarily as a writer on contemporary art and an independent curator, Tom has served in multiple roles with small poetry presses over the years, perhaps most notably as the executive director of the Jargon Society from 1984–87, where he led Jargon’s Southern Visionary Folk Art Preservation Project.

G R G W R G R B R B R B W G W G R B B B B

Reflections on Bernadette Mayer’s ‘Studying Hunger Journals’

Bernadette Mayer visiting the Kelly Writers House on March 26, 2018.
Bernadette Mayer visiting the Kelly Writers House on March 26, 2018, for a Fellows reading. Photo by Kelly Writers House staff.

In the reflections that follow, I refer to media-archaeological reassessments of psychoanalytic theory as a way of opening American poet Bernadette Mayer’s Studying Hunger Journals (1972–1975) to new readings. If, as argued by the likes of Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Kittler, among others, psychoanalytic models of the human mind, from the “psychic apparatus” of Sigmund Freud to the schema of Jacques Lacan, are in fact underwritten by the media-technical conditions of their respective historical eras, then how might this insight shift perspectives on Mayer’s book, a project undertaken not only as an aid to psychoanalysis, but also at the dawn of the so-called Information Age? 

Jacques (Lacan) has wise words 4 me, it’s 2 good to B true, you’re 2 good to B’dette.  Bernadette Mayer, Studying Hunger Journals[1]

Saying it all is literally impossible. — Jacques Lacan, Television[2]

Episode 3: Erín Moure

Photo of Erín Moure by Karis Shearer.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Erín Moure has published eighteen books of poetry, a coauthored book of poetry, a volume of essays, a book of short articles on translation, a biopoetics (alongside the biopoetics of Chus Pato), and two memoirs. She is translator or cotranslator of nineteen books of poetry and two books of creative nonfiction (biopoetics) from French, Galician, Portunhol, Portuguese, Spanish, and Ukrainian, by poets such as Nicole Brossard, Rosalía de Castro, Chus Pato, Fernando Pessoa, and many others. 

Alternative poetries and alternative pedagogies

Joan Retallack, Kelly Writers House, 2001

The Kelly Writers House in 2007; photo by Bruce Anderson, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Kelly Writers House in 2007; photo by Bruce Anderson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Note: The following is an edited transcript of a discussion about the pedagogical future of experimental poetics that took place at the Kelly Writers House on February 28, 2001. The discussion opened with an introduction by Al Filreis and an extended reading from poet Joan Retallack, which included her “Memnoir,” excerpts from Errata 5uite, and “Here’s Looking at You, Francis Bacon,” and Gertrude Stein’s “What Is This?”

Note: The following is an edited transcript of a discussion about the pedagogical future of experimental poetics that took place at the Kelly Writers House on February 28, 2001.

Life-in-death: an agonizing in-between

A review of 'The Agony of I.B.' by Pierre Joris

review
Photo of Pierre Joris by Kelly Writers House staff.
Photo of Pierre Joris by Kelly Writers House staff.

We’re all going to die; very few of us will have a death as remarkable — or perhaps as unremarkable — as Ingeborg Bachmann’s. It is against this canvas, the final days of Bachmann’s life as she lay comatose in an Italian hospital, suffering from burns — the result of a fire caused by a wayward cigarette — and the pursuant withdrawal from sedatives, that Pierre Joris sets his play ​The Agony of I.B. (2016)​.

We’re all going to die; very few of us will have a death as remarkable — or perhaps as unremarkable — as Ingeborg Bachmann’s.

The posthumous now

On Hillary Gravendyk's 'The Soluble Hour'

Photo of Gravendyk (right) courtesy of Benjamin Burrill.

How do we read the work of poets who die young? Recent books by Joan Murray and Max Ritvo have me thinking about the question with a special intensity. Ritvo died of Ewing’s sarcoma in 2016 at just twenty-five, with two posthumous volumes — The Final Voicemails: Poems and Letters from Max — published last year. Murray, who won the Yale Younger Poets award, died at nearly the same age, in 1942; Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry has just been painstakingly edited by Farnoosh Fathi and published by NYRB Poets.

How do we read the work of poets who die young? Recent books by Joan Murray and Max Ritvo have me thinking about the question with a special intensity.