Naomi Replansky's "Ring Song"
On November 15, 2016, Naomi Replansky traveled from New York to Philadelphia to give a reading at the Kelly Writers House. She was then ninety-nine years of age. In this excerpt from the full-length video, Replansky is asked to read and discuss “Ring Song,” the title poem in a book that was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry. In 1994, her The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934–1994 was published by Another Chicago Press. Her Collected Poems (2012) was published by Black Sparrow/Godine. Replansky has worked in offices and factories, as a lathe operator, computer programmer, medical editor, translator, and teacher. She was a translator of Bertolt Brecht in the 1950s, a friendship she believes alerted the FBI to her political beliefs. Though modest in her output, Replansky has been an important figure for poets such as Philip Levine and B. H. Fairchild, who said of her work, “Replansky has become the master of a Blakean music radically unfashionable in its devotion to song-like meters and the reality and politics of working-class experience.”