PoemTalk

Saw the lie (PoemTalk #136)

Nasser Hussain, 'SKY WRI TEI NGS'

From left: Ujjwala Maharjan, Nasser Hussain, and Kevin Platt.

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For this episode of PoemTalk, Al Filreis convened Ujjwala Maharjan and Kevin Platt to meet with Nasser Hussain for a discussion of Hussain’s recent project, SKY WRI TEI NGS (Coach House Press, 2018), a book of poems in which words are chosen only from the list of all the world’s three-letter airport codes. The group focused on three poems from the book: “ISL AMO PHO BIA,” “EAT (FOR MIC LEE),” and “STO RIS.”

Hadbeen variety (PoemTalk #135)

John Cage, 'Writing for the Second Time through Finnegans Wake'

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Marjorie Perloff, Danny Snelson, and Nancy Perloff convened with Al Filreis at Marjorie Perloff’s home in Los Angeles to discuss John Cage’s mesostic abridgement of James Joyce, “Writing for a Second Time through Finnegans Wake.” Nothwithstanding its status as an intense selection or condensation of the original text, the resulting “writing through” is too long for PoemTalk’s signature “close but not too close reading,” so the group focuses on the opening pages of the Cage text. “Writing for a Second Time,” including the methodological preface, has been published in Empty Words; the pages we discuss (37–42) have been made available through PennSound here.

Slowing the rate of perception (PoemTalk #134)

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, 'Hello, the Roses'

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Al Filreis was joined for this episode of PoemTalk by Evelyn Reilly, Joshua Schuster, and James Sherry to discuss the title poem of Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s book Hello, the Roses (New Directions, 2013; 58–62). Berssenbrugge’s PennSound page includes two recordings of her performance of this poem. The recording we played before our discussion is from a reading given at Dominique Levy Gallery in New York in March of 2016.

Flesh ekes ink (PoemTalk #133)

Divya Victor, 'W Is for Walt Whitman's Soul'

From left: Mytili Jaganathan, Angela Carr, Anna Strong Safford

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Angela Carr, Anna Strong Safford, and Mytili Jaganathan joined Al Filreis to discuss a poem published in Divya Victor’s book Kith (2017; BookThug/Book*hug). The last section of Kith includes a long alphabetical poem called “Foreign Terms.” The “W” poem in this sequence is “W Is for Walt Whitman’s Soul,” and that is the work we ponder in this episode of PoemTalk. At the autumn 2017 Book*hug launch, Divya chose the read this poem; a video is available.

Light filtering through (PoemTalk #132)

G. Maria Hindmarch, 'Kitsilano (1963–1969)'

from left: Erín Moure, Karis Shearer, Deanna Fong

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In this special episode of PoemTalk we discuss a poem by G. Maria Hindmarch, who was at the center of the emerging avant-garde and counterculture literary scene in the early 1960s and later. Maria attended the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, established productive connections with Black Mountain poets among many others; published three books; and made audio recordings as a feminist, materialist, and literary communitarian. The poem we discuss is currently still unpublished; it is titled “Kitsilano (1963–1969).” Karis Shearer, Deanna Fong, and Erín Moure joined Al Filreis in Montreal to make this audio and video recording.