I left Sydney at dawn on Wednesday 28 March 2012 headed South-east over the Tasman Sea, aiming for New Zealand, on an Emirates A380 Airbus, a massive double-decker airplane that drives like an aircraft carrier full of warm mud.
I had been invited to attend the Short Takes on the Long Poem symposium at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, right at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean. If you look South-west into the setting sun from San Diego and fly at thirty thousand feet for fourteen hours, there it is. From Sydney you do the opposite, more or less, except that is a much shorter trip. You can read hundreds of pages of poems and commentary and see dozens of sparkling photos on my Main Site here.
I once heard a story about a biology teacher who asked a student to look closely at a fish, then write a description of it. The student took a good look at the fish, then wrote down everything he could think of to say about it.
After the student had brought back his description, the teacher told him to look at the fish again, and to write another description of it. This time the student took it home and went into real depth about everything he could find out about that species of fish, as well as this particular specimen.
After he had brought back his second description, the teacher told him to look at the fish again and write another description of it.
Below is a small transcribed piece of a "Close Listening" conversation with Wystan Curnow, conducted by Charles Bernstein. The full recording is of course available on PennSound. The full transcript will eventually be published in Jacket2; it has been prepared by the remarkable Michael Nardone.