Al Filreis

Teaching imagist revision

Resources for Williams Carlos Williams's 'Young Woman at a Window' (two versions)

For three decades I have been presenting my students with two versions of William Carlos Williams’s “Young Woman at a Window.” How was the poem revised? Do the versions disclose the method of revision? Does one version better befit Williams’s apparent aims at condensation, action rather than explication? And what and where is the poem’s subject position? I sometimes have led a discussion by asking others to decide which of the two versions they prefer, assuming they prefer modern poems to do in themselves, as writing, what they say. There is of course no need to prefer one version of this or any poem to another, but the preferential exercise decenters the teacher-presenter in ways I have found very productive. Here are links to the two versions, to a ModPo video prepared to follow and augment the discussion, and a five-minute video clip from a live interactive webcast in which the poems are further discussed:

Ginsberg and Burroughs talking with Studs Terkel (audio)

New at PennSound

Ginsberg & Burroughs talking with Studs Terkel — a PennSound recording now segmented into topics. It is now available at PennSound’s Allen Ginsberg page. (Many thanks to Domenic Gibby Casciato, PennSound staffer, for expertly doing the segmenting.) 

Ginsberg & Burroughs talking with Studs Terkel — a PennSound recording now segmented into topics. It is now available at PennSound’s Allen Ginsberg page. (Many thanks to Domenic Gibby Casciato, PennSound staffer, for expertly doing the segmenting.) 

Larissa Lai, five sections from 'Nascent Fashion'

Not long after Automaton Biographies was published by Arsenal Pulp Press of Vancouver in late 2009, Larissa Lai attended a several-day conference at Banff Literary Centre called “In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge,” in February 2010. She gave a reading on the final day of the conference and performed sections from several of the long poems in the new book, including “Nascent Fashion.” An audio recording was made and later added to Larissa Lai’s PennSound pageIt is twenty-three minutes long. Here I am pleased to present the text of five sections of the “Nascent Fashion” poems, included in the reading. These appear on pages fifty-three through sixty; this segment begins at 05:49 and ends at 10:01

Not long after Automaton Biographies was published by Arsenal Pulp Press of Vancouver in late 2009, Larissa Lai attended a several-day conference at Banff Literary Centre called “In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge,” in February 2010.

Anne Tardos, five from 'Uxudo'

Uxudo is Anne Tardos’s interlingualist book of 1999 (Tuumba Books/O Books). At an “After-Englishes” event in Manoa, Hawaii, that same year, Tardos gave an introduction to the Uxudo project. She then read passages from the book. Here is a sampling of five poems/sections:


“She Put It Mildly,” p. 55 [audio segment here; audio recording starts at 00:00 here]. Click on the image above for a larger view of the text.

Adrienne Rich reading at Stanford

At PennSound we have now segmented — divided a recording into titled poem-length segments — a reading given by Adrienne Rich in 1973. The segmentation was done by PennSound staffer Hannah Judd. 

Introduction (3:18): MP3
Burning Oneself In (1:28): MP3
On violence (2:58): MP3
Didactic Poem (1:38): MP3
In the Evening (0:55): MP3
I Dream I’m the Death of Orpheus (1:28): MP3
Unwritten Novel (2:43): MP3
The Fourth Month of the Landscape Architect (2:30): MP3
Waking in the Dark (4:26): MP3
Incipience (2:10): MP3
The Stranger (1:33): MP3
Merced (3:13): MP3
A Primary Ground (2:33): MP3
Translations (1:55): MP3
The Phenomenology of Anger (7:11): MP3
Diving Into the Wreck (4:04): MP3