Catherine Wagner

Girl head mostly eyes (PoemTalk #67)

Catherine Wagner, 'This Is a Fucking Poem'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Rae Armantrout, Laura Elrick, and Rachel Blau DuPlessis joined PoemTalk’s producer and host Al Filreis to talk about Catherine Wagner’s “This Is a Fucking Poem.” The text of the poem is most readily available in Wagner’s book My New Job (Fence Books, 2011). It was previously collected in a chapbook, Hole in the Ground, published by Slack Buddha Press of Oxford, Ohio, in 2008 (5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 28 pages). The Hole in the Ground poems form a sequence, even beginning with a poem setting out “The Argument.”

Four women poets in Jacket 33

Kathleen Fraser, Alison Knowles, Eleni Sikelianos, Catherine Wagner

Kathleen Fraser, 1964
Kathleen Fraser, 1964

[»»] Kathleen Fraser in conversation with Sarah Rosenthal, 2007
“SR: Silence has been a central trope in your writing since early on. It carries a range of meanings, from erasure to grief and loss to the spaciousness of an open field. Perhaps we could trace some of the ways in which silence has come up in your work over time.”
[»»] Alison Knowles in conversation with Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, September 2006. Alison Knowles is a visual artist known for her soundworks, installations, performances, publications and association with Fluxus, the experimental avant-garde group formally founded in 1962.
[»»] Eleni Sikelianos, author of The California Poem, in conversation with Jesse Morse
[»»] Catherine Wagner in conversation with Nathan Smith, 13 April 2007

Sonic thresholds

Transitions and transformations

Image by Noah Saterstrom.

This post’s playlist presents recordings from the PennSound archive that explore the continuum between language, music, and other types of sound.

I want to begin with a few related recordings of Nathaniel Mackey and his ongoing serial poem Song of the Andoumboulou. In Mackey’s introduction to a 1997 KWH reading he discusses the poem’s relationship to the Dogon funeral song of the same name, recorded by Francois Di Dio in 1974. Listen to Mackey’s poem Song of the Andoumboulou: 18. I am always struck by this moment  when, near the end of the Dogon recording, as the pitch from the horn wavers up and down, I hear an ambiguity between what could be perceived as a human shout and the sound of a musical instrument. It’s this type of threshold point that has been in the back of my mind when I listen to poetry recordings lately.

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