Commentaries - December 2009
Walked up to Chelsea the other day to take a look at the Wallace Berman show at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery. Wonderful stuff. Most of the pieces date from 1962 or so to the late 60s, but there is one item dating from 1960 and several from the 70s. Berman edited the great Semina magazine, which published irregularly from the mid-50s through 1964; I've written about Semina, happily. Others have too. The gallery shows Berman's silent film Aleph. The day I was there (the gallery was technically closed) I didn't get to view it, but of course I knew to look at Ubuweb films, and, sure enough, there it was. The show closes January 9th, so get to 26th Street before it's too late.
I've used the Freedom of Information Act to get access to previously classified government documents a number of times over the years.I've used the Freedom of Information Act to get access to previously classified government documents a number of times over the years. I started making such requests during the immediate post-Reagan era and in those days the FBI in particular was moderately cooperative in its correspondence with you but otherwise extremely slow to respond. I got the FBI surveillance files on the novelist Mike Gold (Jews without Money etc.) but it took about five years. You have to be patient and persistent.
Fortunately, by now some documents, once released to one scholar or journalist, are made unclassified and available on the web. It's not as difficult as it used to be. What you get is often disappointing, though: entire pages of my Mike Gold materials are blacked out.
Those interested in trying their hand at FOIA requests need to consult two terrific web sites: one hosted by The Reporters Committee of Freedom of the Press (link) and another by The National Freedom of Information Coalition (link).
Contrary to conventional wisdom, sunshine is not a natural state.
At Franklin & Marshall's Writers House on March 10, 2010: A Lecture and Conversation: Al Filreis on "Some Poems of the Cold War: The Tranquilized 50s".At Franklin & Marshall's Writers House on March 10, 2010: A Lecture and Conversation: Al Filreis on "Some Poems of the Cold War: The Tranquilized 50s". "Come out from under your desks. In this hands-on session, Al Filreis will present several poems to explore together with participants within the milieu of the Cold War culture. Filreis is a Kelly Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, the founder and Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. Filreis is the author of 5 books on poetry, as well as numerous academic articles and essays. This event is free and open to the public." More...