Light filtering through (PoemTalk #132)

G. Maria Hindmarch, 'Kitsilano (1963–1969)'

from left: Erín Moure, Karis Shearer, Deanna Fong

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

In this special episode of PoemTalk we discuss a poem by G. Maria Hindmarch, who was at the center of the emerging avant-garde and counterculture literary scene in the early 1960s and later. Maria attended the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, established productive connections with Black Mountain poets among many others; published three books; and made audio recordings as a feminist, materialist, and literary communitarian. The poem we discuss is currently still unpublished; it is titled “Kitsilano (1963–1969).” Karis Shearer, Deanna Fong, and Erín Moure joined Al Filreis in Montreal to make this audio and video recording.

No, MY Ariel

An engagement with Sina Queyras's 'My Ariel'

In the first poem of Sina Queyras’s poetry collection My Ariel, an I-speaker testifies that “A love procedure set me going like a big fat lie.” This line directly overwrites one of Plath’s most famous lines — “Love set you going like a fat gold watch” — often quoted to portray Sylvia’s personal experience of new motherhood on the occasion of her daughter Frieda’s birth.

February 5 [2018]

Remembering Marthe Reed

Editorial note: We were saddened to learn of Marthe Reed’s passing last spring, and in the weeks following her death, Jacket2 editors reached out to Linda Russo, who with Marthe is coeditor of the recent volume Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene

Editorial note: We were saddened to learn of Marthe Reed’s passing last spring, and in the weeks following her death, Jacket2 editors reached out to Linda Russo, who with Marthe is coeditor of the recent volume Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene. Linda responded by sharing with us excerpts from a panel that convened at the October 2018 &Now conference in Notre Dame, Indiana, devoted to Marthe’s work. A note on Marthe’s work and those panel excerpts appear below.

New sentimentalism

A review of Julie Carr's 'Someone Shot My Book'

When viewed as acts of intimacy, reading and writing put “one on the edge of an outside of whatever one figures oneself already to be” — a claim that prompts the poet-scholar Julie Carr to conclude, in the final line of Someone Shot My Book (2018), that “all writing is epistolary.” All poems, then, are as if written in the manner of Emily Dickinson, “on the paper she used to wrap flowers in, or sent in letters.” All poems are addressed to a dear. Indeed, for Carr, “writing is almost always grounded in intimacy, and when it’s not, it begins to lose energy.”

When viewed as acts of intimacy, reading and writing put “one on the edge of an outside of whatever one figures oneself already to be” — a claim that prompts the poet-scholar Julie Carr to conclude, in the final line of Someone Shot My Book (2018), that “all writing is epistolary.” All poems, then, are as if written in the manner of Emily Dickinson, “on the paper she used to wrap flowers in, or sent in letters.” All poems are addressed to a dear. Indeed, for Carr, “writing is almost always grounded in intimacy, and when it’s not, it begins to lose energy.”[1]

The spectral resistance

A review of 'The OBU Manifestos'

Right: IWW ‘One Big Union’ sticker from the 1910s. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A few weeks ago I went into the city to see a revival of Tom Stoppard’s 1974 play Travesties, in which Henry Carr, an elderly English civil servant, looks back on his time as a diplomat in Zurich in 1917, where he was witness to the various antics of James Joyce (composing Ulysses), Tristan Tzara (fomenting Dada), and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (plotting communist revolution).

Examples of

On Barrett Watten's questions

Photo of Barrett Watten (right) by Jonathan Stalling.

It is no accident that the title of Barrett Watten’s second twenty-first-century critical book analyzing Language writing as an ongoing “presence” within the avant-garde continuum and literary history echoes Roman Jakobson’s 1977 collection of essays, Questions de poetique. Just as Jakobson’s essays interrogate the precarious position of poetry in an age saturated with analog media (e.g., how poetry is and is not different from the newspaper, the radio, television, etc.), so too Watten’s essays address the position of poetry in relationship to other modes of innovative cultural production (avant-garde art and techno music in particular).

It is no accident that the title of Barrett Watten’s second twenty-first-century critical book analyzing Language writing as an ongoing “presence” within the avant-garde continuum and literary history echoes Roman Jakobson’s 1977 collection of essays, Questions de poetique.[1] Just as Jakobson’s essays interrogate the precarious position of poetry in an age saturated with analog media (e.g., how poetry is and is not different from the newspaper, the radio, television, etc.), so too Watten’s essays address the position of poetry in relationship to other modes of in

Stein's propagandistic potential

A note on Gertrude Stein's 'La langue française' and 'Patrie'

Portrait of Gertrude Stein with American flag by Carl Van Vechten, January 4, 1935, from the Van Vechten Collection at the Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

In compliance with the request Stein had received from Masson via de Rochemont, “La langue française” is “non political” insofar as it makes no direct mention of any overtly political issues, events, or specific persons. In approaching her requested subject — “the importance or prestige of the French language” — Stein in “La langue française”applies a vocabulary that has a long history in the autodiscourse of the French language (clarity, truth, profundity, etc.). 

Editorial note: This piece is intended to be a companion to Logan Esdale’s contribution to this dossier, which can be found here.

Suffering into shape

A review of 'Atonement' by Vaughan Rapatahana

Atonement is the latest collection of poems by the New Zealand Māori poet Vaughan Rapatahana. It follows his 2011 collection, Home, Away, Elsewhere (Proverse, Hong Kong), and like its two predecessors mirrors his peripatetic lifestyle. Rapatahana has worked in Nauru, Brunei Darussalam, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, the UAE, and Australia, and had a varied career before becoming a writer: he worked as a secondary teacher, a special education adviser, a house painter, and a storeman.

Condemnation, confrontation, remembrance

A conversation with Andrew Levy and Norman Fischer

Above: Norman Fischer (left) and Andrew Levy (right) at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. Photo by Trace Peterson.

Note: I have long been interested in Andrew Levy’s poetry. He and I have corresponded, and in recent years have read and performed together in New York, so we are familiar with one another’s approaches. Fragmented, collaged, passionate, engaged, the trajectory of Andrew’s work over the nearly thirty years of his publishing seems particularly suited to poetry’s jagged and provisional responses to the present moment in which the apparently out-of-control social and political situation we had been in for some years veered way out of orbit since the presidential election of 2016. 

Note: I have long been interested in Andrew Levy’s poetry. He and I have corresponded, and in recent years have read and performed together in New York, so we are familiar with one another’s approaches.