At my graduate seminar at the University of Pennsylvania the other night, one of the students made a point that is very often made, expressing an anxiety that poetry is luxury for those with time and learning. I thought of Audre Lord’s great essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury.” Indeed, those who feel they have enough – money, material satisfaction, knowledge – are likely to think that poetry is not necessary: it doesn’t contribute to economic growth, offers no immediate solutions to poverty or climate change, can’t stop political violence or bring about more just societies. W.H. Auden famously wrote “Poetry makes nothing happen.” I take that nothing to be the same place Emily Dickinson invokes when she writes that “no” is the wildest word we consign to language. Poetry is both a wilderness and a desert, the same one the ancient Isrealites wandered in Exodus. And it is just such deserts or wildernesses, such sites of blank or emptiness or nothing, that we have a place for exchange across what otherwise might seem insurmountable borders, as between our two complex and rich cultures of China and the Americas.
I regret I cannot be in Jinan for the Fourth CAAP Convention – the fifth convention to bring together Chinese scholars and teachers who are engaged with poetry and poetics and the exchange between American and Chinese scholars and poets.
“The Astonishment Tapes will now take its place within the growing field of international research about postwar American poetry's important contribution to world literature. Miriam Nichols has once again done exceptional scholarship.” —Peter Gizzi
“One of the great pleasures of this book is the glimpse it gives of another, more private Blaser than one we encounter in his collected poems and essays.” –Ben Friedlander
Norman FIscher's Experience is the fruit of a life’s work in Zen (and other religious practice) as well as in poetry. It is mature, syncretic, wide-ranging, and open-hearted. Fischer is able to find common ground between Judeo-Christian and Buddhist beliefs or between Zen and the writing life without eliding the differences and contradictions. When he says that, in a certain type of Zen meditation, ‘you allow the phrases to come forward to you as if they were alive,’ I (as a poet) know precisely what that means. In these essays, Fischer accomplishes it.” —Rae Armantrout, author of Versed, Just Saying, and Itself
A career-spanning multi-genre compendium of work by and about poet Lyn Hejinian, one of today's most celebrated and influential avant-gardists. Through a variety of approaches —philosophical, scholarly, and experimental—Aerial 10 documents and explores her forty-plus years of poetic and theoretical writings. Its 464 pages include poetry, essays, interviews, collaborations, and letters by Hejinian, as well as essays, poetry, and memoir by contemporary poets and critics.
This interview was first published Gefter. in Russian, on Sept. 11, 2015. Arcade published the interview and an accomanying essay by Ian Probstein, on Nov. 12. 2015: the essay is linked here. See also at Arcade “In Imploded Sentences: On Charles Bernstein’s Poetic Attentions” by Enikö Bollobásin (written for the Janua Pannonious Prize: linked here). A one hour TV with Probstein and Bernstein is on PennSound: linked here.
Louis Zukofsky's "Julia's Wild" from Bottom: On Shakespeare, 1960) consists of permustations on a line in Shakespeare's Two Gentleman of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4 (line 199), a part spoken by Julia:
Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form, Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored! And, were there sense in his idolatry, My substance should be statue in thy stead. I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake, That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow,