Al Filreis

Poetry leader to Joe McCarthy: 'Good job!'

I wrote this commentary post back on September 27, 2007 and I thought I would reprise it now:

There’s a story on the front page of the arts section of today's New York Times that begins by the usual condescending reference to "[t]he cloistered community of American poetry." After that, the lead is: “The board of the 97-year-old Poetry Society of America, whose members have included many of the most august names in verse, has been rocked by a string of resignations and accusations of McCarthyism, conservatism, and simple bad management.” (And there's "august": is that word ever used unironically any more? Made more ironic here by its being rocked by "rocked.")

I wrote this commentary post back on September 27, 2007 and I thought I would reprise it now:

There’s a story on the front page of the arts section of today's New York Times that begins by the usual condescending reference to "[t]he cloistered community of American poetry." After that, the lead is: “The board of the 97-year-old Poetry Society of America, whose members have included many of the most august names in verse, has been rocked by a string of resignations and accusations of McCarthyism, conservatism, and simple bad management.” (And there's "august": is that word ever used unironically any more? Made more ironic here by its being rocked by "rocked.")

The story is: the conservative orientation — conservative in the sense of aesthetically cautious, and conservative (here and there) in the sense of right-of-center political views — of the PSA led to an award given to John Hollander, which led to resignations, which led to interest at the Times. Here's the whole article.

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.