Commentaries - December 2008

Yesterday Jessica Lowenthal and I spent some time talking with Jamie-Lee Josselyn about the (first) book she’s writing a memoir of her mother, who died when Jamie-Lee was just twelve. And we recorded it for the Kelly Writers House Podcasts series. It’s forty-five minutes long, so you’ll, I hope, want to download it to your iPod and listen en route to your holiday destination, on trains, planes, cars.

[] directly to the downloadable mp3 LINK
[] to the Kelly Writers House Podcasts series page LINK

Q: Robert Lowell wrote a poem called “Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid.” What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?

Ron Silliman: The Four Quartets [by T.S. Eliot] does it best, since it makes dreaming impossible. But most anything by Lowell will do just fine unless I’ve had tea after nine PM.

Q: What poem do you love, love, love, but don’t understand?

Silliman: Hart Crane, The Bridge. Or (which I love less, but also understand less) John Berryman’s Dream Songs.

Q: Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?

Silliman: No, thank heavens. I can’t memorize haiku. But Vance Teague in fifth grade made us write for an hour every Wednesday and never told us what genre. He made me a writer as much as anyone.

These are just three of many questions Ron Silliman has answered. See the rest.

Philip Metres, the author of To See the Earth (2008) and recent coeditor of Come Together: Imagine Peace (2008), was asked to contribute to the “Best American Blogs” gathering and I’m delighted to say that when asked “What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?” he suggested this one — this one right here — yes, mine. What nice affirmation. Keeps one going. And here’s the Best American Poetry blog version.

Above you notice the wording is “What other ... ?” Of course the one besides which this is the other is ... Ron Silliman’s great blog

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The Philadelphia Inquirer cover Breyten Breytenbach’s recent visit to the Kelly Writers House. Here is your link to the article. Breytenbach’s presentation was part of our Writers without Borders series.