Al Filreis

origins of Speakeasy

"Speakeasy" is the name given to the twice-monthly open-mic performance night at the Kelly Writers House. It's had a remarkable run for a decade. Courtney Zoffness, who now teaches creative writing at CPCW, was then an undergrad and was among Speakeasy's founders.

Wallace Stevens's primitive fantasies

In 1986 Beverly Coyle and I co-edited the complete correspondence of Wallace Stevens and the Cuban editor-poet-impresario, Jose Rodriguez Feo - published by Duke.

Lake Cole is a man-made lake, as almost everyone knows or recalls. Wawayanda's first summer at Frost Valley--1958--was a lakeless summer.

card announces "I am here"

When Rae Armantrout agreed to present at the "9 Contemporary Poets Read Themselves through Modernism" three-night event (in 2000), and when she chose Emily Dickinson as the modern through whom to read, I knew I'd be in heaven--and I was. It wasn't just a stunningly good performance; I learned a great deal about Dickinson's presence in the poetic present; I also learned how distinct (yes, and distinct from Dickinson) Rae Armantrout is. If Dickinson is my favorite poet to teach, I think Armantrout is the second. Not to say it's easy to teach her poems, but everyone--students and I alike--feel rewarded by the effort. Here's the link to the RealAudio recording of that performance. If readers of this blog have not read or heard Armantrout's poems, may I suggest one for starters? It's a poem called "The Way", most recently published in Veil. Listen to the poem but also hear the poet talk about it in her May 2006 conversation with Charles Bernstein: click here for the segment on "The Way."

See a later entry for link to and description of a PENNsound podcast that includes a reference to "The Way" and Armantrout's discussion with Bernstein about the poem.

a listener's guide to Ezra Pound

PENNsound's Pound archive is truly remarkable. This blog has already thus testified, per poet Peter Gizzi. The earliest recording that survives--The Harvard Vocarium reading in Cambridge--was made in 1939. The latest are some miscellaneous recordings made in San Ambrogio and Venice, between 1962 and 1972, by Olga Rudge.