“… that which is sacrificed (the lamb, the deer, the ram, the boy, the girl, the body) and that to which it is sacrificed (the prima causa, but of course if it needs sacrifice to function then isn’t the sacrifice itself the prima causa?) call out to each other with images of flora and fauna…”
Robin Blaser is in his element in these monologues in interview format — personable, pedagogic, and himself a “high-energy construct,” to not-quite-cite Charles Olson. By virtue of this book, the reader experiences Blaser as a unique force field of magnetic knowledge and charismatic charm. He is at home among the poets, themselves practitioners and friends, meeting in 1974 at someone’s house in Vancouver.
Ron Silliman talks for six minutes about Louis Zukofsky's “A“ as a useful counterpoint to Rachel Blau DuPlessis's Drafts and the crisis of the long poem that is at the heart of its composition: MP3 audio. Here is a link to the complete talk by Silliman. It was presented as part of a celebration of the poetry and criticism of DuPlessis held at Temple University in 2011.
In October of 2000, Lisa Robertson presented along with Steve McCaffery at the seventeenth episode of PhillyTalks. She read from a then-new work, The Weather, just a few months before the book’s publication by New Star in Vancouver (2001). Here are the segments from that 2000 reading: “Monday” (2:10): MP3; “Tuesday” (7:06): MP3; “Wednesday” (2:14): MP3; “Thursday” (6:38): MP3; “Friday” (9:16): MP3; “Saturday” (4:02): MP3. The book-length project, organized as such by days of a/the/every week, was in part stimulated by the poet-researcher’s experience during a six-month Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellowship at Cambridge University: as a non-local, she found herself listening to late-night weather and shipping reports on the British radio, discerning there and elsewhere a specifically localized language that seemed abstract and was yet radically precise.
One October 11, 2012, I hosted a debate on Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.” Well, not quite a debate, but I knew that I, sitting in the middle of four poets, would be on the fence, as it were, with two on a side. The live webcast, hosted by the Kelly Writers House, was associated with the 36,000-person free online course "ModPo," and was viewed synchronously by dozens in the room with us and thousands watching digitally around the world. We made a recording immediately afterward, and have posted it to YouTube here (1 hour, 9 minutes). (And here is a recording of Frost performing the poem. We began our discussion by listening to it; the performance is certainly important to at least the beginning of the debate.)
The differences between the sides, two versus two, didn't really emerge until the end of a fascinating discussion, but they did indeed emerge, Rachel Blau DuPlessis first finally expressing concerns about the attitude of the poem’s speaker, then Bob Perelman joining the view, pointedly. To be sure, all four poets — Bob, Rachel, and John Timpane and Taije Silverman — spent much of the time assembling a full close formal (and meta-poetic) reading of the poem. Its thematics — and politics — derived, as is apt, from the poem's quality as itself an instance in form of the speaker's impulse to have and also to keep apart from the stilled human object of his beautiful but empty annual cultural rite. Later John Timpane thought some more about his own position on the poem’s speaker; I'm pleased that he has given me permission to publish his statement here.
This series promotes and pursues topicsin the burgeoning field of 20th and 21st century poetics. Critical and scholarly work on poetry and poetics of interestto the series includes social location in its relationships to subjectivity, to the construction of authorship, to oeuvres,and to careers; poetic reception and dissemination (groups, movements, formations, institutions); the intersection ofpoetry and theory; questions about language, poetic authority, and the goals of writing; claims in poetics, impacts ofsocial life, and the dynamics of the poetic career as these are staged and debated by poets and inside poems. Topicsthat are bibliographic, pedagogic, that concern the social field of poetry, and reflect on the history of poetry studiesare valued as well. This series will allow Palgrave to focus both on individual poets and texts and on larger movements,poetic institutions, and questions about poetic authority, social identifications, and aesthetics.