Commentaries - February 2009

Linh Dinh snapped this photo yesterday, during a long jaunt around Philadelphia with two visiting Chinese poet-scholars. Zhimin Li gave a reading at KWH the other night as part of the Writers without Borders series.

Oh it seems to be Archiving Old Media week here. Well, we found another item. This was a local TV news spot on the all-online pre-matriculant advising I was doing in the 90s. Innovative in those days. Not innovative now, but — amazingly — rarely practiced. Huh? Yes, students are admitted to colleges and universities beginning in mid-December but the faculty who will work closely with them don’t really interact with them in any meaningful way until September. I can understand why people balk as such an “extra assignment” when the students are random admits, all across the board of interests, passions and talents. But the kids I advise are those who are writers and who are going to be, or in a sense are already, a part of the Writers House community. Start with them early, watch them flourish all the more when they set physical foot on the property. In ’99 the local news “discovered” this “story” and did one of their personal-interest angles on it. But you get the gist. Click here and watch the video.

“Teaching Revolution” 2001-style. That was the topic of a Philadelphia Sunday Inquirer Magazine story by Jim O’Neill, then the higher-ed beat reporter for the Inquirer. Jenny Lesser has kindly prepared a PDF of the article, which is now linked to a page that presents the article’s text.

In 1999, several Kelly Writers House regulars (among them Andrew Zitcer and Kristen Gallagher — both of whom are still involved with us in one way or another), created a second radio program out of the Writers House. The first, of course, was and still is “Live at the Writers House,” which continues to this day to air monthly on WXPN 88.5 FM. This second show — meant as an experimental alternative — was called “Dystopia.” At least several of its shows aired on XPN 88.5, and maybe they all did (Andrew and Kristen can tell me otherwise). Recently we found recordings of all seven Dystopia shows and, with the help of Andrew Zitcer, put them back together. And just today Mark Lindsay did the work of uploading them and linking them to a new KWH Dystopia page: HERE.

The newest PoemTalk is out now. Episode #14, a discussion of Wallace Stevens’ late poem, “Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself.” Have a listen!