Al Filreis

Crowdsourced close reading: Four members of the ModPo community discuss Clark Coolidge's (and Charlie Parker's) 'Blues for Alice'

Anika Lani and Raymond Maxwell during the November 1, 2015 discussion for ModPo

New addition to ModPo’s collection of crowdsourced close readings: Raymond Maxwell, Colleen Knight, Anika Lani, and Mark Snyder meet by GoogleHangout to discuss Clark Coolidge’s “Blues for Alice” (in the context of Charlie Parker and more): link to YouTube.

Sonic poetry from Andrew Whiteman

Andrew Whiteman (guitarist, composer, frontperson for Apostle of Hustle, etc.) is an enthusiastic promoter of the experimental poetry tradition, especially in Canada. He has collaborated with Ariel Engle in the board AroarA, which released the EP "In the Pines" based on the poetry of Alice Notley. He has just made available "Sonic Poetry - Investigative Poetry" as a YouTube video.

Jackson Mac Low in 1984

On stability, choice, connection, political poetry, & other topics

Jackson Mac Low, "Drawing-Asymmetry #10" (1961), from the collection at MoMA

Jackson Mac Low speaks during a long question-and-answer session at New Langton Arts in San Francisco, c. 1984. This recording came to PennSound’s archive in two parts, and — thanks to the efforts of Hannah Judd — we now make them available in segments roughly topical.

Part 1 (47:38): MP3

  1. On philosophy of humanism (2:40): MP3
  2. On human value (8:43): MP3
  3. On identification (9:15): MP3
  4. On self-perception (6:40): MP3

Ammons on Rezi: 'Slight artistic interest'

Ammons to the left; Reznikoff to the right

I've been writing about Charles Reznikoff’s Inscriptions, which collected 53 short post-holocaust poems written in the late 1940s to mid-1950s and published finally — self-published by Rezi, actually — in 1959. Reviewers got to it in 1960 and ’61. I came across A. R. Ammons's review in the April 1960 issue of Poetry. Ammons is reviewing Bob Brown's amazing, fabulously unusual 1450-1950, a book published by Jonathan Williams that consists of hand drawings, in a sense reversing the era of the book (marked by the dates of the title) — an avant-garde undoing. Ammons liked the book, although thought of it as a high modernist throwback: “a cool breeze from the Twenties for our hot, dry, thermonuclear times.” Most of the review is taken up by Ammons's assessment of Robert Duncan’s City Lights Selected Poems, and there’s nothing per se wrong with that. But Reznikoff’s Inscriptions deserves more than the 55 words it gets here.

John Shea's 'Tales from Webster's'

I am pleased to present a glimpse at John Shea’s Tales from Webster’s project — a prefatory note about purpose and method, followed by one tale, which is a tale unto itself but also serves as a note to readers of the book of tales.

The “tales from Webster’s” are a new literary form invented by me.  What is a “tale from Webster’s” — a poem in prose, a short (very short) narrative, a verbal arrangement?  A combination of all of them?  There may be no conclusive answer. On the other hand, the structure of the “tale” is clear.  The bolded key words on the left of the page are consecutive entries in Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition (World Publishing Company, 1970).  The text on the right is my connective tissue that links the key words into a kind of narrative, scene, or evocation of personality.  The tale is read the customary way, from left to right, beginning at the highest point — with the additional frisson of a leap across the white space after each dictionary entry.  There must be at least five key words; and the linking text is no more than three lines long. Get ready for some good, not-so-clean, intellectual fun. — John Shea