Commentaries

Witness Mark Booth

A prosodic variable is the type of constant

Mark Booth, from T.S.I.R.B.A.I.S. (2)

Susan Howe’s recuperation of Emily Dickinson’s visual prosody marks a pivot point in American poetics, insofar as it calls attention to the long effaced but paradigmatically American enterprise of self-invention that Dickinson’s practice depicts. And in depicting her work, the picture is the work, hence the holograph images that for the most part replace block quotes in texts like Howe’s My Emily Dickinson and the essay from which I’ll cull this epigraph, “These Flames and Generosities of the Heart.”

Audio recordings of Harriet Monroe

Thanks to the scholarly sleuthing, the archival negotiating, the digitizing, the uploading and filenaming, and the context-setting of Chris Mustazza, PennSound is now adding eight audio recordings of Harriet Monroe — the founding editor of Poetry and one of the crucial figures in the editorial acceptance and promotion of modernism in the U.S. — made in 1932.

Here is what Chris has to say about this acquisition:

Harriet Monroe was recorded reading her poetry at Columbia University on January 29, 1932. The recording, made by Barnard professor W. Cabell Greet, was one of the first recordings in a series that came to be known as The Contemporary Poets Series, which began with the recording of Vachel Lindsay in 1931 (available here in PennSound). Several of Greet’s recordings were later released on distribution LPs, produced by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), for pedagogical purposes and distributed to schools on a subscription basis. These recordings of Monroe were never released (the reason why is unclear at this time).

Anne-Marie Albiach: 'Work Vertical and Blank'

Cinq le Choeur,  Anne-Marie Albiach's collected poems, 1966-2012 has just been published by Poésie/Flammarion. This magnificent 600-page collection of one of the signal achievements of postwar French poetry, includes an afterword by Isabelle Garron and cover by Claude Royet-Journoud. 

In Conjunctions 23 (1994), I published a reworking of Albiach's "Travail Vertical et Blanc": pdf.   & here is  the original poem, from the new collected (reprinted with permission)pdf .

Jacket 2 published an obituary for Albiach in 2012)

For the 1994 publication, I included this introduction:

Sounds outside of English

Sonnet L'Abbé's 'Ghazals for Zahra Kazemi'

Sonnet L'Abbé
Sonnet L'Abbé

Earlier this week, I received an email from a friend of mine, the poet Sonnet L'Abbé. She sent me one of her poems, "Ghazals for Zahra Kazemi," which appears in her book Killarnoe (2007). The occasion for the gift of this poem was the deaths of two Canadian soldiers in two separate incidents: when I received Sonnet's email, I was listening to a news report in which the two incidents — which took place in two separate provinces, on two different days — were blended together and blamed on radical Islam. Sonn, it emerged that the shooter in the second incident was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a person with an apparent "Arabic-sounding" name.

Pierre Joris: From 'Barzakh' (Poems 2000–2012)

[It is astonishing to me how Pierre Joris, whom I’ve known going back into his jeunesse (& almost into mine) has emerged as an exemplar of a total poetics, at the heart of which is that nomadic poetics which he’s been delivering to us over the last three or four decades with such singular force.  As with many of us who have tried to define ourselves as poets & sentient beings, it is the poetry itself that precedes and determines what we later say about it.