An Interview with Black Ocean

Into the Magic

Black Ocean, publishing quality books of poetry that you may have heard of, responds to my query. My hope is that you'll check out their amazing catalog after you find out what publisher and co-founder Carrie Adams has to say about the press and its history and influences.

a. How did you get the name Black Ocean?

We owe the name to founder/publisher Janaka Stucky. Though the exact origin story remains a happy mystery to me, I like to think that it speaks to that great Hölderlin abyss, from which poetry is made and into which poetry is sent as a companion.

Quiet now

C.A. Aguilera. Photograph by Dita Aguilera G.
C.A. Aguilera. Photograph by Dita Aguilera G.

Whereas Nelson Villalobos articulates visual qualities so important to the poetic gesticulations of Angel Escobar, Carlos A. Aguilera captures Escobar’s motion in terms of theater, another arena of expression that was important to the poet.  Aguilera depicts Escobar's lyric selves on stage, jerking through poems with the grace and awkwardness of marionettes.  His remarks culminate with the audience's stunned and necessary silence.

Quick now

Nelson Villalobo and Angel Escobar, Havana, 1987. Photo by Eva Leal Lavandera.
Nelson Villalobo and Angel Escobar, Havana, 1987. Photo by Eva Leal Lavandera.

Angel Escobar’s awareness of motion is one of the many elements that make his poems undeniably powerful.  To me, as I translate his poems, there is no doubt that Escobar (1957-1997) created multivalent, energetic work, and that a quick reading of one or two poems at least hints at his range. Other writers, at the very least other poets, must recognize the surety of his movements. 

Visualizing applause in the PennSound archive

Tanya E. Clement and Stephen McLaughlin

Applause at the end of Charles Olson’s Vancouver Poetry Conference reading, August 14, 1963

What if you could identify the applause in every recording in the PennSound archive?

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt

Kia ora ano.

In te ao Māori [the world of the Māori] everything is intensely interrelated, which is why all of these conversations-commentaries keep on interconnecting. So when Alison Wong writes about Pauatahanui, it segues into what I wanted to write next. It was once the home of a poet who is mainstream, but has never been any favourite of this country’s academic mainstream.