Commentaries - May 2010

The Pennsylvania Current is now running a story about the legacy of poetry at Penn: "Penn’s rich poetry legacy," by Tanya Barrientos. It features a nice mention of the Kelly Writers House and of PennSound.

Back on April 21, Danny Snelson, Tan Lin and others spread themselves across the entire first floor of the Writers House to produce an on-the-spot re-publication event around Tan's Seven Controlled Vocabularies (Wesleyan, 2010).

"Edit: Performing Networked Publishing," organized by Danny, focused on editorial strategies and textual conditions in contemporary writing. It was a roving events series exploring innovative performances, critical archiving, and live editing toward an exploration of editorial activity in contemporary writing and the arts. Featuring a team of poet-editors including Chris Alexander, Alejandro Crawford, Kareem Estefan, J. Gordon Faylor, Kristen Gallagher, Lawrence Giffin, Diana Hamilton, Eddie Hopely, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Patrick Lovelace, Jeremy Thompson, Sara Wintz, and Al Filreis accompanying Tan Lin in the re-publishing of SCV on the spot in a variety of formats. The event began at 1pm, with a reception and Q&A; that happened at 6pm. The works to be published include "Handmade book, PDF,, Appendix, Powerpoint, Kanban Board/Post-Its, Blurbs, Dual Language (Chinese/English) Edition, micro lecture, Selectric II interview, wine/cheese reception, Q&A; (xerox) and a film.

You like Ike. I like Ike. Everybody likes Ike. Ike for President, Ike for President. We'll take Ike to Washington. Hang out the banners, beat the drum, we'll take Ike to Washington. You like Ike. I like Ike. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country. Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President....

It's a gem. A thirty-second television ad from the 1952 campaign. Yesterday, arriving home after voting against Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary election, I thought it might be apt to honor mindlessly for a few minutes the candidate who didn't know what party he belonged to until not long before he declared his candidacy for the presidency, whose centrism was real, whose legislative record had been nil, and whose campaign (quite aside from his Vice Prez choice) was innocent to the point of silliness. Then I washed my hands, cleaned out the hallway closet, and breathed the cool late-spring air. Ready to have my political lungs filled up again with the usual soot.

From left to right: Anthony DeCurtis, Nate Chinen, and Greg Djanikian. Nate, my (and Greg's) former student and later a Kelly Writers House staffer, is now a regular music critic for the New York Times. See his NYT pieces.

Just a few hours ago today at the Writers House, with me from left to right: Alice Eliot Dark, Moira Moody, Beth Kephart. Alice and Beth read beautifully from their work. I was ready to explain the interlocking connections of these four, and planned to link from here to Beth's blog, which I read regularly. So naturally I went to Beth's blog to pick up the URL for the link and, lo and behold, Beth had driven home and had already written out the convergence. So I need only refer to you her blog, which I do so happily. Let me just add that I've been a pleased and moved reader of Alice's "In the Gloaming" for years and was gratified that she chose to read from that very story this afternoon at KWH. Pretty soon we'll have a recording available and you can listen too.