Kelly Writers House Fellows program

The poetics of a Jamaica Kincaid sentence

On March 20, 2007 I moderated a public conversation with Jamaica Kincaid. Most of the questions I asked her — and my comments about her writing, after I'd read everything she’d written — were about the convergence of a quasi-cubist idea about sentences (almost Steinian in places, although not quite) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a specifically postmodern postcolonialist conception of her Caribbean origins. A "trying not to get it quite right," as she and I agreed during the discussion.

We have now posted links to: 1) the video recording of the session; 2) the audio recording of the discussion; 3) the audio recording of the reader she had given the night before; and 4) the audio recording of that reading.

Robert Coover: Podcast (23 mins.)

Robert Coover at the Kelly Writers House, February 24, 2009

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

This is the 23rd episode of the Kelly Writers House podcast series, produced by me, hosted and introduced by Amaris Cuchanski, edited down to 23 minutes from the original hour-plus-long recording by Nick DeFina. The podcast features excerpts from a discussion with the writer of experimental metafiction, Robert Coover. I moderated the interview/discussion at the Writers House on February 24, 2009. Coover was visiting as part of a three-day stint sponsored by Kelly Writers House Fellows. He had given a reading the night before.

Ashbery live webcast interview: Audio recording segmented by topic

New at PennSound

On February 12, 2013, I interviewed John Ashbery in his Chelsea (New York, NY) apartment, and moderated a discussion with people gathered at the Kelly Writers House, while many hundreds more watched via live webcast. Thanks to Anna Zalokostas, PennSound’s Ashbery page now offers the audio-only version (in downloadable MP3 format, as always) of the discussion, and, also, links to audio excerpts segmented by topic. Here are those segments:

  1. on humor in Ashbery’s poems (3:53): MP3
  2. on Ashbery's relationship to nature and the country (4:00): MP3
  3. on “Auburn-Tinted Fences,” “Soonest Mended,” and living outside the margin (7:13): MP3

Ashbery interviewed, 2013

On February 12, 2013, I interviewed John Ashbery in his Chelsea apartment, and moderated a discussion with people gathered at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia while hundreds watched via live webcast. The live webcast, of course, was recorded and here is a link to the YouTube recording of the GoogleHangout video. Ashbery was the first of three 2013 Kelly Writers House Fellows, and this was his second time as a Fellow; he is the only writer, in 14 years of the series, to be asked to serve as a Fellow twice. The previous visit was in 2002. On Monday, February 11, the poet met for three hours with students in the KWH Fellows Seminar and then gave a public reading (also available as a recorded webcast). During the reading he performed several poems from his new book, Quick Question, and read two unpublished poems — one of them having been written just a few days earlier.

I and Albee

Edward Albee at the Kelly Writers House, March 22, 2011

I spent the last two days with Edward Albee, whom I hosted as a "Writers House Fellow." I was able to persuade him to read my favorite speech in all of his 30 plays--the pre-elegy given by A (modeled on Albee's adoptive mother) to the audience at the very end of Three Tall Women. My second favorite (while we're on favorites...): Martin trying to describe his feelings for the goat in The Goat (Or: Who Is Sylvia?), an attempt that breaks down because such longing is an experience of non-relation. He cannot "relate" it because it doesn't not "relate to anything," a foregrounding in a surface of halting words the key double meaning of (in my view) all great writers. Relation = to connect (or--mostly--not) and to describe in words (or--mostly--not).

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