Al Filreis convened Christopher Stackhouse, Maria Damon, and Devorah Major to talk about a poem by Bob Kaufman titled “Suicide.” The recording of Kaufman performing the poem — outdoors in San Francisco, in a park, it seems — can be seen and heard in one of the final scenes of Billy Woodberry’s documentary about Kaufman’s life and work, And When I Die I Won’t Stay Dead. We have extracted an audio-only copy of the poem as performed and you can hear it here. The text of the poem can be found on p. 112 of the Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman (City Lights), coedited by Neeli Cherkovsky, Raymond Foye, and Tate Swindel.
Al Filreis convened Eric Sneathen, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, and Trisha Low to talk about a poem by the late and much-missed Kevin Killian. The poem is “Is It All Over My Face?,” and it was published in the book Action Kylie. Kevin performed this poem several times; at a certain point in his readings, it was a favorite poem to share with his audiences. Our recording comes from his reading at the Queering Language launch reading, March 24, 2007, and can be found, with many other great Killian performances, at PennSound’s Killian author page. The text of the poem is here.
Al Filreis, with help from Zach Carduner in our virtual Kelly Writers House control room, convened Bonny Finberg, Julien Poirier, and Jake Marmer to talk about a poem by Steve Dalachinsky. The poem is titled “with shelter gone,” and our recording of Dalachinsky performing it is clipped from a video documenting a reading that took place at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City in 2008. The reading was hosted by Jake Marmer.
Al Filreis convened Erica Hunt, Bob Perelman, and Tonya Foster to a virtual version of the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House — for a conversation about a poem by Lorenzo Thomas. The poem, “Souvenir of the Manassah Ball,” was written in 1990 or 1991, and now appears on page 310 of the magnificent Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas, edited by Aldon Nielsen and Laura Vrana (Wesleyan, 2019). The performance of the poem we used as our audio recording for this episode was presented at a reading on November 13, 1991, at Buffalo.
For this 154th episode of the PoemTalk series, Al Filreis remotely convened Simone White, Kate Colby, and Angela Carr to talk about a prose poem by Elizabeth Willis, “The Similitude of This Great Flower.” The poem was first published in the Cordite Poetry Review in January of 2008. Our recording of the poem comes from a Close Listening session hosted by Charles Bernstein on March 17, 2008.