PoemTalk

I mean only means (PoemTalk #109)

Kate Colby, 'I Mean'

Kate Colby (at right)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Siobhan Phillips, Emily Harnett, and Joseph Massey joined Al Filreis to discuss a long poem by Kate Colby — the title poem in her book I Mean, published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2015. The poem “I Mean” runs for seventy-two pages and nearly every one of its lines begins with the phrase “I mean.” In this episode of PoemTalk we discuss the opening twelve pages of the poem. Colby’s PennSound page includes a complete recording of I Mean, recorded in forty-three minutes by Mary-Kim Arnold in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on July 27, 2016.

But too beautiful (PoemTalk #108)

Tracie Morris, 'Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Camara Brown, Edwin Torres, and Brooke O’Harra joined PoemTalk producer-host Al Filreis for a discussion of Tracie Morris’s “Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful.” The recording used as the basis of this conversation was made at the 2002 Whitney Museum Biennial Exhibit and is available on Morris’s PennSound page. The performance piece/musical poem was first performed at NYU in the 1990s, in a graduate performance theory course, a last-minute improvisation after Morris discovered she misplaced or lost her planned text, accompanied by — and intuitively responsive to — two colleagues whose dance movements, in part, reproduced the sweeping up-down motions of rice harvesting.

It is time (PoemTalk #107)

Paul Celan, 'Corona'

Paul Celan (photo credit: Romanian Cultural Institute, London)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Pierre Joris, Anna Strong, and Ariel Resnikoff joined Al Filreis to talk about Paul Celan’s poem “Corona.” Celan had chosen to continue writing in German after the elimination of Jews from his town and the murder of his parents by the Nazis and their fascist allies — and maintained, to the say the very least, a complex relationship to the mother tongue he kept using with increasingly inventive disfiguration. There was knowledge of the original difficult German in our Wexler Studio, although as PoemTalk is an English-language podcast series we focused on the challenges of the English translation. Our translation was Jerome Rothenberg’s, from his groundbreaking anthology New Young German Poets (1959, City Lights).

Dear conflicted reader (PoemTalk #106)

C. D. Wright, 'One Big Self'

PoemTalk producer-host Al Filreis traveled to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and was joined there by Mark McMorrisMel Nichols, and Rob Casper to discuss C. D. Wright’s book-length poem One Big Self. We focused on the opening five pages of verse in the book, which include poem-sections entitled “Count Your Fingers,” “Count Heads,” “In the Mansion of Happiness,” and “I Want to Go Home.” And we added, from a few pages later, the poem “My Dear Conflicted Reader,” something of a belated proem. These sections can be found in the Copper Canyon Press edition of One Big Self on pages 3–8 and 14. 

No truths self-evident (PoemTalk #105)

Michael Magee, 'Morning Constitutional'

from left to right: Kristen Gallagher, Joshua Schuster, Kerry Sherin Wright (photo by Al Filreis).

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Kristen Gallagher, Kerry Sherin Wright, and Joshua Schuster converged on Philadelphia to help us celebrate twenty years of the Kelly Writers House. Al Filreis took the opportunity of this reunion of KWH founders to convene a PoemTalk session on the work of a fourth founder — Michael Magee. This was Magee in his pre-Flarf days, the late 1990s. He was finishing a doctoral dissertation on Emerson, pragmatism, Ellison, and jazz; was beginning a relationship with the person, now his partner, who had created the Kensington Needle Exchange; and was taking long, daily morning Emersonian/Whitmanian constitutionals, walking the city incessantly described as the cradle of constitutional democracy. The book of poems resulting from these experiences was Morning Constitutional.