Interviews

'There should be battles'

Julie Carr and Jennifer Pap interview Leslie Kaplan

Women on factory floor, 1960.

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). De Gaulle believed that a united and powerful France could re-emerge from war and postwar challenges through fidelity to traditions and commitment to social stability. Attaching paramount importance to French identity and destiny meant paying little heed to the varied needs of working-class people and other vulnerable populations. Within this ideology there was much to concern those committed to social justice.

Note[1]: 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).

In digital ether

W. Mark Sutherland in correspondence with Dani Spinosa

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 fairly simplistic digital game that marks a point of convergence between many art forms and asks how the digital medium allows for greater audience participation. 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 these art forms. 

Note: In W.

Explode for small change (PoemTalk #104)

Akilah Oliver.

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).

On the central tensions of being

An interview between Christy Davids and Allison Cobb

Photo of Allison Cobb (left) by Kerry Davis.

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. 

'The personal is environmental'

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague interviews Eric Sneathen and Lauren Levin

Note: On December 11, 2016, I talked with authors Eric Sneathen and Lauren Levin over Google Docs. Eric was in a café in the Bay; Lauren was also in the Bay, in bed with her daughter running in and out of the room; and I was sitting at my dining table in Philadelphia. Eric and Lauren are the two newest authors of the small press Krupskaya, which has published their books Snail Poems and The Braid (respectively). Both of these books were their debuts.

Note: On December 11, 2016, I talked with authors Eric Sneathen and Lauren Levin over Google Docs. Eric was in a café in the Bay; Lauren was also in the Bay, in bed with her daughter running in and out of the room; and I was sitting at my dining table in Philadelphia. Eric and Lauren are the two newest authors of the small press Krupskaya, which has published their books Snail Poems and The Braid (respectively). Both of these books were their debuts.