Interviews

White engine against black magic

Aboriginal song poetry and anthropology

Iconic flag showing the many hundreds of tribes in Australia prior to British settlement. The flag was flown at Camp Sovereignty in Melbourne, March 2006, where an indigenous Australian protest movement organized against the Commonwealth Games.

A conversation between Robbie Wood and Andrew Dowding about Taruru: Aboriginal Song Poetry from the Pilbara, recorded on September 16, 2010. 

Robbie Wood: Maybe we could start by talking about your relationship to song poetry and your connection to it, perhaps as a contemporary claimant of it in some way, and also about your relationship to it as an anthropologist and an Aboriginal person.

Andrew Dowding: The poetry that’s in that book [Taruru: Aboriginal Song Poetry from the Pilbara], some of it is really quite spiritual and quite ceremonial, but then there’s also another side of it. Some of it I’ve been connected to through a ritual that all young men go through, which is like an initiation into manhood that all young guys have to go through.

Ear turned toward the emergent

Close Listening with Myung Mi Kim

Myung Mi Kim at the Kelly Writers House. Photo by Arielle Brousse.

Editorial note: Myung Mi Kim (b. 1957) is the author of Penury (2009), Commons (2002), Dura (1999), The Bounty (1996), and Under Flag (1991). She teaches in the poetics program at SUNY–Buffalo. The following has been adapted from a Close Listening conversation recorded March 15, 2007, at Studio 111 at the University of Pennsylvania with the engineering assistance of Molly Braverman. Listen to the audio program here. Charles Bernstein hosted and produced the show, which includes questions and comments from Pauline Baniqued, Julie Charbonneir, Nicholas Mayer, Heather Gorn, Sarah Yeung, and Jonathan Liebembuk (as well as Adam Tabor and Damien Bright). The interview was transcribed by Michael Nardone. — Katie L. Price

Ted Pearson in conversation with Luke Harley

November 25, 2010, to September 6, 2011

Ted Pearson with Larry Price at Poet's House, New York City, 2011

Note: The following is the second (and concluding) part of a larger conversation examining Ted Pearson’s An Intermittent Music, a serial work begun in 1975 and completed in 2010. The first half appeared in Jacket2 and can be read here.

Luke Harley: Ron Silliman has resisted attempts to label your work as “minimalist,” instead arguing that it is “all about how much pressure you can exert on a few select words or lines.” Do you agree with Ron?

Ted Pearson: Yes. Resemblance is not identity, though it can lead to mistaken identity. As applied to poetry, a “minimalist” tag refers to texts that are formally spare and verbally concise — but those features are common to such a disparate range of works that to remark them is obvious and does little to account for significant aesthetic differences among those works. Yet those differences determine a work’s relation to the “restricted economy” that the label implies. In my work, that relation is essentially oppositional.

Writing as metadata container

An interview with Tan Lin

Tan Lin (center) and others at Edit: Performing Networked Publishing, April 21, 2010, Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia.

Note: Published in 2010 in the Wesleyan University Press poetry series, Tan Lin’s Seven Controlled Vocabularies defies generic categorization. Lin redefines “the book” for our cultural moment of networked communications, new technologies that threaten — or promise, depending on one’s point of view — to render obsolete many longstanding assumptions about our reading practices. In the following interview, Lin provides extensive commentary that becomes a textual extension of Seven Controlled Vocabularies.