Note: Alembic was an internationally minded little magazine, edited by Peter Barry, Ken Edwards, and Robert Hampson out of London between 1973 and 1979. Emerging from, and explicitly engaging with, a tradition of modernist, late-modernist, Dadaist, and Surrealist poetries, Alembic published contemporary British poets alongside North American and Australian poets, as well as prose, interviews, and visual material.
Poet, novelist, and playwright Leslie Kaplan came of age in 1960s Paris. France was then defined by a particular brand of conservatism, even while tumultuous events called out for a commitment to activism. President Gaulle had successfully pushed for strong executive power when a new constitution was written, founding the Fifth Republic (1958). He believed that a united and powerful France could re-emerge from war and postwar challenges through fidelity to traditions. Attaching paramount importance to French identity and destiny meant paying little heed to the varied needs of working-class people and other vulnerable populations.
Note: Poet, novelist, and playwright Leslie Kaplan came of age in 1960s Paris. At that time, France was defined by a particular brand of conservatism, even while tumultuous events called out for a commitment to activism. President Charles de Gaulle had successfully pushed for strong executive power when a new constitution was written, founding the Fifth Republic (1958).
Note: In W. Mark Sutherland’s Code X (2002), a born-digital sound poetry machine that allows users to create their own sound poetry performances, a line is drawn between the work and a history of sound poetry, performance art, and concrete poetics. Code X is a digital game that marks a point of convergence between many art forms. As Paul Dutton writes of Code X in a brochure for Sutherland’s Scratch exhibit at the Koffler Gallery in 2002 (archived on Sutherland’s webpage), the work “fuses poetry, music, and visual art” to reveal the tenuous boundaries between art forms.
Editorial note: The following conversation has been adapted from an episode of PoemTalk recorded in 2016 at the Wexler Studio in the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia. The episode features Al Filreis, Yolanda Wisher, Charles Bernstein, and Patricia Spears Jones discussing Akilah Oliver’s poem “is you is or is you ain’t” from Oliver’s collection the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Smoke Proof/Erudite Fangs, 1999).
Note: Allison Cobb is the author of four books, most recently After We All Died, which was published by Ahsahta in late 2016. Her poetry is invested in locating the self in the landscape of the world, and does so with an eye toward ecology and an ear toward music. Her work incorporates research, considers historical and scientific contexts, and regularly plays with the boundaries of poetry and essay.