Jane Joritz-Nakagawa: Jennifer, I’d like to start by discussing the anthology you co-edited, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. In the preface you explain that a purpose of the anthology was to present non-mainstream views of disability while offering a considerable range of stylistic diversity in poetry by disabled poets, mostly poets with a visible disability. Since the anthology was a collaboration I wanted to ask you what you learned through the process — what benefits did you receive and what hurtles did you need to overcome? What did you learn both from the process of collaboration and from the project as a whole? Also, how would you evaluate the result — do you feel you achieved your aims? What reactions have you received from readers who identify as disabled and from others who don’t? (This is a bunch of questions that we could discuss either separately or all together, depending on how you wish to answer them!)
When Mandelstam wrote, “I never write. I alone in Russia work from the voice,” he was being literal. Here is how Viktor Shklovsky, Mandelstam’s neighbor for a time in the early 1920s, described him: “With his head thrown back, Osip Mandelstam walks around the house. He recites line after line for days on end. The poems are born heavy. Each line separately.” And here is how Sergey Rudakov, a young philologist and poet who visited Mandelstam in exile in Voronezh, described him in 1935: “Mandelstam has a wild way of working… I am standing in front of a working mechanism (or maybe organism, that is more precise) of poetry… The man no longer exists; what exists is – Michelangelo. He sees and remembers nothing. He walks around mumbling: ‘Like a black fern on a green night.’ For four lines, four hundred are uttered, literally… He does not remember his own poems. He repeats himself and, separating out the repetitions, writes what is new.”
Some new PennSound singles, via Robert Creeley tapes.
Peter Schjeldahl Two readings from the New Yorker art critic, from before he was an art critic. Both readings are from around 1973 and are about 15 minutes each MP3 MP3
Warren Tallman Two essay by the Vancouver critic and key figure for New American Poetry and Tish: September: A Necessary Politics of Stan Persky, introduction by Robin Blaser (1978) (1 hour): MP3 Treatise on Alcohol (1979) (2 hours): MP3
Fielding Dawson Three readings by the Black Mountain-associated fiction writer on a new PennSound page