Sawako Nakayasu, Donato Mancini, and Gabriel Ojeda-Sague joined Al Filreis to talk about two poems by Sueyuen Juliette Lee. The poems were published in a chapbook titled Perfect Villagers (2006) and later collected in That Gorgeous Feeling (2008). “Dear Margaret Cho” (actually one of two poems of that title) and “Daniel Dae Kim” were among the pieces from the “perfect villagers” series performed by Lee in a reading she gave at the Kelly Writers House in January of 2007. The recording can be found at Lee’s PennSound page.
Al Filreis and Zach Carduner traveled to Los Angeles to the home of Marjorie Perloff, where they made a sound recording and film of a convesation about a poem by John Ashbery with Susan McCabe, Robert von Hallberg, and Marjorie herself. The poem is “The Short Answer” from a late book, Quick Question (2013). There are, abounding, the usual marooned pronouns, and the typically high “daftness quotient.” Marjorie and Al chose this poem with the goal of exploring of what it means to read closely and talk in detail about a seemingly “minor” poem from a “major” poet — a poem that might strike readers as an effect of Ashbery’s incessant and seemingly easeful poetic fermentation.
Tyrone Williams, Aldon Nielsen, and William J. Harris joined Al Filreis to talk before a live audience about Amiri Baraka’s poem “Something in the Way of Things (In Town).” The printed poem has been published in several versions; one version can be read below. It is best known as a cut on The Roots’ Phrenology album (2002). Baraka came to the lower Manhattan studio where The Roots were recording some of the album’s tracks; there Baraka performed the poem as the band backed him. The result can be heard here.
Christine Nelson, Davy Knittle and Erica Baum joined Al Filreis to talk about Erica’s Dog Ear,a book of photograph-poems, in which each poem is a meticulous reproduction of a dog-eared page of a mass-market paperback photographed to isolate the small, diagonally bisected squares or rectangles of text.
J. C. Cloutier, Michelle Taransky, and Clark Coolidge joined Al Filreis to talk about Jack Kerouac’s Old Angel Midnight, a sprawling work of prose poetry consuming forty pages of the Library of America Kerouac: Collected Poems. A recording of Kerouac performing the first page is available here. His model was Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Up late in the Low East Side, he listened for sounds coming through a tenement window from the court below and made words of them. Such making is the plot of the book. The effort sometimes results in what Clark Coolidge has called “babble flow.” Old Angel Midnight is an interlinguistic record of voices augmented by “neologisms, mental associations, puns and wordmixes” and “nonlanguages.”