Commentaries

new at PennSound

New, new, new...at PennSound: our Michael Davidson author page. Michael has been at UCSD since 1974, where he helped create the now utterly invaluable Mandeville Special Collections (which houses manuscripts of many avant-garde poets including George Oppen and Jackson Mac Low). He is the editor of a new edition of Oppen's collected poems (2002), has published many books of poems, and a number of critical books. Of the latter, The San Francisco Renaissance: Poetics and Community at Mid-Century is probably the most well known (1989). My own favorite is Ghostlier Demarcations: Modern Poetry and the Material Word which is, in part, about the modernist documentary poem and was a real influence on my writing about the same form in my Counter-Revolution of the Word.

a pre-spring walk up the west side

Yesterday afternoon we walked from West 10th Street, up along the Hudson, to West 83rd. It's three miles (surprisingly). The much longed-for continuous parkscape along the west side of Manhattan isn't nearly finished yet, but of course one can walk or bike along a continuous path (rough in some places, temporarily wending through construction sites in others). And of course there are two beautifully designed sections of completed park--benches, separate bike and walking paths, lawn, playgrounds, boardwalks and docks, etc.

Steve Earle

Steve Earle - yes, the great Steve Earle - stopped in at the Writers House two nights ago. He met with a group of about 50 people in the living room during a reception and then went into the Arts Cafe where Mingo Reynolds introduced and Anthony DeCurtis moderated a conversation - during which Earle played three of his songs and talked about them and lots else. We've caught the whole wonderful event as a downloadable mp3 audio and as a streaming video. And here are photos of the evening taken by John Carroll. The program is funded by a generous grant from Mitch and Margot Blutt. Previous singer-songwriters have been Rosanne Cash and Suzanne Vega. If you have ideas for next year, send 'em along.

KWH now twittering

Now you can follow the Kelly Writers House on Twitter.

habits of energy and rashness at 100

The current "Poetry off the Shelf" podcast from the Poetry Foundation is a discussion of the current state of the manifesto. Mary Anne Caws (whose Manifesto I happily own and whose pages make me laugh out loud with delight) is interviewed by Curtis Fox, and we get to hear Charles Bernstein read from Marinetti's great futurist manifesto at a recent MoMA birthday celebration. We're celebrating 100 years since Marinetti published it.

Here are the first three ironic/unironic dicta:

1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.
2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.

From Art in America's coverage of the event at MoMA celebrating the 100th birthday:

The MoMa event was a collaboration between the newly established Modern Poets series (an attempt to revitalize Frank O'Hara's legacy within the institution) and Poetry journal. The journal had commissioned eight new manifestoes on poetry, four authors of which, with different ideologies and stylistic approaches, were invited to the event. Joshua Mehigen, A.E. Stallings, Charles Bernstein and Thomas Sayers Ellis each read Futurist manifestoes and finished the day performing their own works. It kicked off with Bernstein, a legendary L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet, declaiming in full, high-pitched throttle Marinetti's original manifesto. Nonplussed by it all, the passing crowds simply stared at him.

Above is a reproduction of the manifesto as it appeared in Le Figaro on February 20, 1909.