Close Listening program #1: complete program (27:44): MP3 Singles: Matvei Yankelevich reads from Alpha Donut (United Artists, 2012) (8:33): MP3 from a new poem "Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt" (16:36): MP3
Close Listening program #2, a conversation with Charles Bernstein (58:51): MP3 Matvei Yankelevich talks about "Some Words for Dr. Vogt," his grandmother Yelenna Bonner and growing up in an American center of Soviet dissidence, the relation of Soviet samizdat and small press publishing in North America, the formation and operation of Ugly Duckling Presse, the importance of book design, Russian poets of the modernist period and of the 1920s, and 1930, wih special reference to Daniel Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky, and the translation into English of contemporary Russian poets, including Dmitri Prigov and Lev Rubinstein.
1946 was a good year for poets. Along the fruits of that bumper crop were Alan Brunton, peripatetic troubadour and (co-) founder of radical theatre troupe Red Mole; Bill Manhire, Dean of the Wellington school and unquestioned Top Bard of the country; Sam Hunt, restless road warrior and heart-sore lyricist – and Ian Wedde, New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2011-13.
It’s Wedde [pronounced Wed-dee, not Wed, in case you were wondering] I’d like to talk about here. He’s far harder to characterize in a couple of gimcrack phrases than most other local poets. That’s if he really is a local poet. There’s always been something of an air of the largeness of outside in Wedde’s work from the very beginning.
What follows is a response to PoemTalk #52 written by Cole Swensen, whose poem “If a Garden of Numbers” is discussed by Al Filreis, Ann Seaton, Gregory Djanikian and Michelle Taransky in that show.
I wanted to respond to the reading given to one of my poems in a recent number of PoemTalk. I was thrilled to hear that it was on the program because it’s such a wonderful series, but then I was disappointed to hear the actual discussion. It seemed dominated by Ann Seaton’s very particular agenda, which is an extremely important one, but not the only lens through which to look at 17th-century French gardens.
As Seaton herself stated, she was interested in “everything that wasn’t in the poem,” but because of that, what is in the poem never got addressed. Even its basic subject — the construction of the concept of nature by the sciences, which characterizes the modern world — wasn't discussed, nor was the dominant image in the poem, the golden section. And by extension, geometry as a whole, and with it, perspective, subject positioning, and the constitution of collective subjectivity were all left out. Discussing these, which are the agenda of the poem, might have opened the talk up to the critique attempted by many parts of the book.