Al Filreis

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.

poetry in the mountains

Each year for five years now I and a group of 20 or so Penn alumni have spent three days and two nights at the Straus estate at Frost Valley in the Catskills, studying and discussing modern and contemporary American poetry. And each year a poet--whose work we read--joins us.

a novel of blowtorch intensity

I edited and brought out a new edition of a relatively unknown novel, Ira Wolfert's Tucker's People. The new edition was published by Illinois with my introduction.

the one course I dread teaching

Last fall (autumn 2006) I taught my Holocaust course again. I love teaching the modern and contemporary American poetry course, English 88, and my annual spring Writers House Fellows Seminar, but I can't say I "love" teaching the Holocaust course. Do I feel obliged or committed to do so? Am I part of the "chain of witness"? That seems much too simple.

writing actually as works of art

The Modern Language Association conference was held in Philadelphia last December ('06) and, as usual, the local newspaper feels obliged to cover it. Usually such stories devote most of the space to mockery at arcane, whacky paper topics and seem inevitably to have a jokey, anti-PC, anti-academic tone: how silly, all this.