On March 18, 2015, Canadian poet Rachel Zolf visited Philadelphia and the Kelly Writers House and came into the Wexler Studio to record a conversation with Brian Teare. Zolf and Teare discussed Zolf’s most recent book, Janey’s Arcadia, which Teare described in his introduction to Zolf’s reading at Temple University in November 2014 as a work that “situates us in a Canadian national history in which the ideology of nation building prescribes genocide for indigenous people, and enlists all its settler-subjects in the campaigns of conversion, dislocation, assimilation, and disappearance.” Zolf created a film, a sound performance, and a number of polyvocal actions related to Janey’s Arcadia and has written recently about the “mad affects” generated by the reading/audience event.
I had been hesitating to ask Diana Hamilton to talk about emotion / feelings / affect in her work, in part, because I was beginning to feel concerned that a tendency might be emerging in this column: a) that I’d somehow been asking more of my “female” correspondents to write on content questions, and b) that some of those content questions could look "soft" even though the answers I’ve been getting are quite brilliant and sometimes pretty hard-hitting. I mean, I asked Holly Melgard “Why childbirth” but could have asked her about her brilliant work with and on Troll Thread! But of course the issues raised by her childbirth performance are anything but soft or simple, and Holly’s answer makes that clear enough. Diana Hamilton’s brilliance, humor, and theoretical prowess deeply impress me. For the past few years she's been doing alot of heavy reading and thinking in the Comparative Literature Program at Cornell, where's she's earning her Ph.D. I remember her making some helpful theoretical connections in a Freud-Lacan reading group we both took part in a couple of years ago and was especially grateful for the work she and Kareem Estefan did unpacking Lacan’s diagrams.