During a visit to the Kelly Writers House — on his way from Glasgow to Managua — Shetland poet Christie Williamson took some time to read his poem “Da Burn” and responded to a few of our questions about it and the Shetlandic language. Click on the screenshot below to watch the video. The text of the poem is also below.
Here is an excerpt from an seventy-minute interview/conversation with Samuel. R. Delany. Delany was a Kelly Writers House Fellow in 2016. The discussion took place on February 16 that year. Regina Salmons has done the work of transcription. A video recording of the entire conversation can be viewed here.
Al FILREIS (begins by quoting Delany’s novel Dhalgren)
“As I walked home, I thought about the hospital again” — this is described earlier in the “It was so easy to tell your story and not mention you were homosexual.” I assume he means to tell your story in the clinic. [Continues quoting Delany.] “It was so simple to write about yourself, and just not to say you were black. You could put together a whole book full of anecdotes about yourself without ever revealing you were dyslexic. And how many people whom I’d just met and who’d ask me ‘what do you do?,’ did I answer disingenuously, ‘Oh I type manuscripts for people.’”
In 2017 I moderated an interview/conversation with Lydia Davis. At one point I asked her to read “In the Train Station,” a prose poem or microstory I have admired and puzzled over. Then she and I discussed it. A video clip of that exchange is here, below. The transcription was done by Regina Salmons. The text of the piece can be read here. Here is a link to a video recording of an 18-minute discussion of this piece with Anna Strong Safford and erica kaufman (the video is inside the ModPo site; one must register to watch). And here is a 35-minute collaborative close reading (with 20 people) of the same piece which I hosted in San Francisco.
On October 25, 2016, Edwin Torres and Will Alexander gave a double reading at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia, and then joined together in conversation. The program, organized by Edwin Torres in collaboration with the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania, was titled “Paradigm Shifting.” The event was recorded and is available in both audio and video. Details of the event are archived at the Kelly Writers House web calendar here. Now, thanks to the efforts of PennSound staff editor Luisa Healey, the recordings have been completely segmented; one can listen to individual poems read by each poet, and the conversation has also been segmented by topic. This new addition can be found on both Alexander’s and Torres’s PennSound author pages.
Anna Strong Safford and I are editing a book, to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2020, in which we present fifty poets writing 1,000 words each in response to fifty poems. Fred Wah on Creeley’s “I Know a Man.” Rachel Blau DuPlessis on H.D's “Sea Rose.” Tyrone Williams on Baraka’s “Incident.” And also Mónica de la Torre on Erica Baum’s “Déjà vu.” Reproduced above is Baum’s piece (from “Card Catalogues”).