Kathleen Fraser

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

St Mark's Talks (1985): Erica Hunt, Bruce Boone, Peter Inman, Jackson Mac Low, David Antin, Barbara Guest, Lorenzo Thomas, Steve McCaffery, Kathleen Fraser, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Nathaniel Mackey, Ron Silliman, Bob Perelman, Anne Waldman, Nick Piombino

In 1985, Eileen Myles was the new director of the St. Mark's Poetry Project in New York. She asked me to curate a lecture series, the first such program at the church. I modelled the series at the Poetry Project on my earlier series New York Talk, giving it the amusing title, given the sometimes seeming resistance to poetics at the St. Marks at the time, St. Marks Talks. And talk it did.

Hadley Guest and Kathleen Fraser talk about Barbara Guest

Barbara Guest (left) with Hadley Guest (right)

Kathleen Fraser interviewed Hadley Guest about Barbara Guest in Berkeley on July 17, 2007. The complete recording lasts two hours and 31 minutes and is available on PennSound’s Barbara Guest author page.

  1. introduction (0:23): MP3
  2. Hadley Guest reading "The Next Floor" by Barbara Guest (0:51): MP3
  3. Kathleen Fraser on being introduced to Barbara Guest and her work (13:46): MP3
  4. Barbara Guest’s friendship with painters (9:33): MP3
  5. Hadley Guest on growing up around poets and painters (5:15): MP3
  6. the division between uptown and downtown in the New York art world in the 60s (12:31): MP3
  7. Barbara Guest's refusal to be pigeon-holed (2:23): MP3
  8. the cruelty of the downtown scene and Barbara Guest’s erasure (18:31): MP3
  9. Hadley Guest on living with Barbara during the last few years of her life and hearing about her first marriage to John Dudley (7:18): MP3
  10. Trumbull Higgins and social position in relation to money (11:33): MP3
  11. Barbara’s uptown studio and her strong family feelings (16:55): MP3

Can't stop the cars (PoemTalk #13)

Kathleen Fraser, 'The Cars'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

PoemTalk is back after a bit of a holiday hiatus. Happy to be back with episode 13 on Kathleen Fraser’s disorienting prose-poem “The Cars.” The piece appears in two paragraphs on a single page in Fraser’s great book Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling. At some point during our discussion we ask ourselves if there are any such mergings going on in “The Cars” and we agree that there are, certainly. For one thing, two categories so literarily basic as subject and object: the poet’s subject position (the p.o.v. of the passenger in a car on an interstate highway) and the object of her gaze — a “dusky”-necked body, a dark or light-darkened man, dangerously crossing the highway at dawn, barely visible to the swiftly passing cars, looking for something he’s lost. The person in the car, the narrative seer, sees him, but then she’s past him. Did he make it? Did others see him? Does one want to see or to help, and are these categories discrete?

The PoemTalkers this time were Kristen Gallagher, CAConrad (both on our program for the first time) and a wonderful regular, Jessica Lowenthal. Conrad identifies strongly with the woman in the car and expresses real doubts about the man crossing the road. Kristen is, in the end, concerned about the gendered poetic ethics of observing danger for the sake of the poem, which, to be sure, is a problem she feels Fraser raises in the writing (and thus it is a poem about this very “journalistic” problem). Jessica, aided by informal commentary from Kathleen Fraser herself (delivered by surprise, somewhat unfairly, by Al), comes to believe that at the center of the poem’s concerns is the disoriented body. Al agrees: it is a body in space, dislocated by interstate highwayness, with no place to stand, no light to define, no there to be there.

PoemTalk #13’s engineer and director was James LaMarre and our editor as always is Steve McLaughlin. We at PoemTalk wish to express thanks to Kathleen Fraser (pictured above) for her generosity and assistance.

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