Interviews

'Private Archive'

An interview with Stephen Motika

Image of Stephen Motika (left) by Stephen Motika. Image of Brian Teare (right) by Ryan Collerd, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

Note: What follows is an edited transcript of an email exchange between Stephen Motika and Brian Teare that began on October 8, 2016, and ended on March 19, 2017. Motika and Teare discuss Motika’s most recent chapbook, Private Archive, which was published by Albion Books in September 2016.

'Really, music was the cause of it'

Interview with Russell Atkins, June 2, 2016, at The Grand Pavilion, Cleveland, Ohio

This image is from Atkins’s unpublished score “Objects for Orchestra.” The dedication is to Aunt Mae, Atkins’s mother’s sister with whom he lived for many years. Image courtesy of Russell Atkins.

The poet Russell Atkins falls through all of the cracks of postwar art history.[1] Living in Cleveland, outside the geographic centers of the art and publishing worlds; caught between modernism and the postwar avant-garde; publishing in small press journals; writing generically indeterminate concrete poems, essays, and operas. In terms of medium, his work belongs to music history as much as to literary history. Politically, he is located simultaneously in the avant-garde, behind the times, and outside the Black Arts Movement.

Note: The poet Russell Atkins falls through all of the cracks of postwar art history.[1] Living in Cleveland, outside the geographic centers of the art and publishing worlds; caught between modernism and the postwar avant-garde; publishing in small press journals; writing generically indeterminate concrete poems, essays, and operas. In terms of medium, his work belongs to music history as much as to literary history. Politically, he is located simultaneously in the avant-garde, behind the times, and outside the Black Arts Movement.

Kevin M. F. Platt and Aleksandr Skidan in conversation

Photo of Aleksandr Skidan by Charles Bernstein.

Note: Aleksandr Skidan was born in Leningrad in 1965. He worked from the late 1980s through the 1990s as a stoker in a boiler room while becoming known for his innovative poetry, critical writings, and translations of contemporary American poetry and important works of critical theory.

The transatlantic axis of 'Alembic'

An interview with editors Ken Edwards and Robert Hampson

Above: the covers of 'Alembic' numbers 1 through 8.

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.

'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. 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[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).