Al Filreis

Don't keep score

A few words on Kevin Varrone's forthcoming 'Box Score'

The deep relationship between baseball and language has been remarked many times, but rarely if ever has it been enacted in the writing itself. Kevin Varrone’s Box Score is that enactment. Moment by moment, innings (as it were) of prose poems throw the ultimate linguistic eephus. Play by play wordplay struck by bits of ash verbal industry. No open-field poem can find the strike zone. It must go awry and in doing so presents a perfect game—rare but imaginable, and worth staying ‘til the end.

The poetics of a Jamaica Kincaid sentence

On March 20, 2007 I moderated a public conversation with Jamaica Kincaid. Most of the questions I asked her — and my comments about her writing, after I'd read everything she’d written — were about the convergence of a quasi-cubist idea about sentences (almost Steinian in places, although not quite) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a specifically postmodern postcolonialist conception of her Caribbean origins. A "trying not to get it quite right," as she and I agreed during the discussion.

We have now posted links to: 1) the video recording of the session; 2) the audio recording of the discussion; 3) the audio recording of the reader she had given the night before; and 4) the audio recording of that reading.

Creeley on Dickinson

Image of Creeley courtesy Francesco Clemente (from a 2002 oil painting); image of Dickinson courtesy Penelope Dullaghan (from a poster she created for the Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA).

In late September of 1985, Robert Creeley visited New College. He gave three lectures on Emily Dickinson (one each on September 20, 23 and 25) and a reading (September 23), introduced by Aaron Shurin and Duncan McNaughton. We at PennSound have now segmented the first of the three talks by topic. Many thanks to Anna Zalokostas for her superb editorial work. The recordings came to PennSound courtesy of David Levi Strauss. So here are the segments of the first lecture on Dickinson:

  1. challenging the image of Emily Dickinson as eccentric, reactive, and fragile (11:06): MP3
  2. on the comings and goings of the Amherst town and church, her secondary school education, and her daily interactions (10:39): MP3
  3. on her family life (3:34): MP3
  4. reading from Emily Dickinson's letters (8:28): MP3
  5. on the patterns of her friends and family (13:47): MP3
  6. reading from Emily Dickinson's letters (3:19): MP3

ModPo announces partnership with the New York Public Library

A still from the introductory video to ModPo.

We are all looking forward to the start of ModPo 2014 on September 6. The site will open at 9 AM Philadelphia time. At that moment (and of course any time after) you’ll be able to go here

https://www.coursera.org/course/modernpoetry

and click through to the actual ModPo site.

Meantime, I’m pleased to announce that I will be in Prague, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, October 14, to join a meet-up/gathering of any and all ModPo’ers in the area. We will gather at 7 PM Prague time. We are looking for a place to host the event. If you can help us, or know of a good place, please contact me.

Of course we encourage the formation of ModPo meet-ups – weekly, monthly, one-time, whatever. Once the course starts you can use the “Study Groups” discussion forum for organizing both virtual and face-to-face gatherings.

I’m writing today to announce that ModPo and the New York Public Library are collaborating to host a weekly meet-up every Thursday from 5:30-7 PM during ModPo’s 10-week session, starting on September 11.  I myself will convene and moderate the first of the weekly NYC gatherings – September 11 at 5:30 PM. The group will meet every week at the Hudson Park Library located at 66 Leroy Street, New York, NY 10014. If you are in NYC or nearby, please plan to join us for each week or any week.

ModPo 2014

Above: illustration for chapter 9.3 (week 10) of ModPo. This goes with the new supplemental syllabus called “ModPoPLUS.” ModPo begins again on 9/6/14 and it’s (as always) free, open to all, non-credit. Runs 10 weeks until mid-November. The course typically requires between 4 and 10 hours per week — much more if you join the discussions and live webcasts. Enroll here: https://www.coursera.org/course/modernpoetry