Al Filreis

Robert Creeley interviews Kathy Acker

On December 12 and 13, 1979, Robert Creeley hosted Kathy Acker at SUNY-Buffalo. He introduced her and in two sessions she read from her work and engaged with Creeley on conversation. PennSound now offers, in addition to the whole recording, segments by topic and work:

  1. introduction by Creeley (4:25): MP3
  2. on Erica Jong material (1:15): MP3
  3. on forthcoming work and French novelists (3:02): MP3
  4. introduction to translations (8:41): MP3
  5. Acker reads from Eden, Eden, Eden (5:23): MP3
  6. Acker reads from Laure (10:48): MP3
  7. Acker lectures on Guyotat and Laure (31:15): MP3
  8. on self-expression (16:37): MP3
  9. on self-reflection (4:18): MP3
  10. on subjectivity and perception (12:37): MP3
  11. on the writer's perspective (5:04): MP3
  12. on the divided self (8:14): MP3

Many thanks for Hannah Judd, who did the editorial and segmenting work.

'Kora in Hell: Improvisations,' the audio

Douglas Storm has made a recording of himself performing William Carlos Williams’s Kora in Hell: Improvisations. The recording is 1:46:13 in length: MP3. Because Williams republished the book in 1957 without the original preface, Storm begins his reading after the preface. Thus the opening is this: “Fools have big wombs. For the rest? here is pennyroyal if one knows to use it. But time is only another liar, so go along the wall a little further: if blackberries prove bitter there ll be mushrooms, fairy- ring mushrooms, in the grass, sweetest of all fungi.” The full text of Kora is available here (among other places) at the Internet Archive.

Some takes on Whitman's importance to contemporary poets

In this 5-minute video excerpt from the recording of a 90-minute live “ModPo” webcast on aleatory poetry, Amaris Cuchanski, Emily Harnett, Max McKenna, Erica Kaufman and Lily Applebaum each take a turn discussing the Whitmanian mode as it can be discerned in contemporary poetry. To view the entire video, click here.

Further explorations of found poems in card catalogues

Or: fighting against fear

photograph by Meredith Bergmann

Ever since I saw the photographs associated with Erica Baum's book of photographed juxtapositional found poems, Card Catalogue (1997), I've been rather obsessed with the project. I've taught it to my students many times. I can't think of a better way of extending forward the lessons they and I learn when encountering imagism and other radically condensed juxtapositional language at the beginning of poetic modernism. Baum of course has often photographed the language she finds out there and is especially attracted to categorizing systems, such as the codex (Dog Ear) or the catalogue. This conceptualist consciousness — and devotion to words in the ambience (as in: who needs to create them? they're there) — I find extraordinarily teachable and infectious. One of my students is a young autistic man, Dan Bergmann. Readers of this ongoing commentary will surely have heard of Dan’s feats of talking (writing, really — or, still better: spelling). What is even more remarkable is the way in which Dan becomes aware of categories and meaning-systems.

A note on two versions of Caroline Bergvall's 'Via'

The version of "Via" (subtitled "48 Dante Variations") that Caroline Bergvall published in Fig (Salt, 2005) consists of, in fact, 47 different translations of a single tercet from The Divine Comedy (Part 1, canto 1, lines 1-3). The version of the piece as it appeared in Chain (#10, Summer 2003; pp. 55-59) includes 48 translations. Bergvall published a prefatory statement in Fig that, in part, explains the difference (pp. 64-65). Those pages appear below. For a larger view, click on the image.