To rearrange the world (PoemTalk #110)

Philip Whalen, 'Life at Bolinas. The last of California'

Stephen Ratcliffe, Joanne Kyger, Julia Bloch

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PoemTalk’s crew took to the road, wandering pretty much as far west as one can go on this continent, to a place Philip Whalen called, in a poem’s subtitle, “the last of California” — Bolinas, coastal spot famous as A congenial writer’s retreat. Stephen Ratcliffe, Joanne Kyger, and Julia Bloch gathered there with Al Filreis to talk about Whalen. Our poem was indeed written in Bolinas, in 1968, and finished in Kyoto in 1969. It’s called “Life at Bolinas: The Last of California.” Whalen’s PennSound page includes a recording of his performance of this poem.

First reading of Hannah Sanghee Park's 'And a Lie' (2)

Amaris Cuchanski

Hannah Sanghee Park (left) and Amaris Cuchanski

From the first stanza of her poem “And A Lie,” Park sets in motion a pattern of fissure and fusion. She splits words into their fundamental sound units and rearranges them. The confidence of the initial “the,” a definite article whose purpose is to point to a singular thing, becomes “then,” an adverb anticipating change, then transforms to “anathema,” and finally to “anthem.” Anathema and anthem evoke loathing and loving, condemnation and celebration.

'The government of love'

A review of Elizabeth Willis's 'Alive'

Image of Elizabeth Willis (left) courtesy of Kelly Writers House.

The speaker of “Survey,” a long poem among the “New and Uncollected” of Elizabeth Willis’s Alive: New and Selected Poems, illustrates public interest and personal exposure combining to make an American lyric. As the title suggests, the poem responds to an easily imagined questionnaire ranking priorities and concerns with a list of wishes and worries, two of perhaps the most private and maligned categories of our Just Do It culture in which both wishes and worries are judged as failures of will.

Aufgabe, 2001–2014 (ed. E. Tracy Grinnell et al.)

reissue
From Aufgabe, No. 9, 2010

The task of recounting the work of Aufgabe is formidable. Founding editor E. Tracy Grinnell initiated the magazine in the Bay Area in 1999. Over the next fifteen years, Aufgabe featured seventy editors, 700 writers, 150 translators, and twenty artists from twenty-three countries.

The task of recounting the work of Aufgabe is formidable. Founding editor E. Tracy Grinnell initiated the magazine in the Bay Area in 1999. Over the next fifteen years, Aufgabe has featured seventy editors, roughly 700 writers, nearly 150 translators, and twenty artists from twenty-three countries. The magazine was uniformly released from 2001 until 2014 in perfect-bound 6" x 9" format with one thousand copies printed per issue.

Being matter recorded

Cecil Taylor on/poetry

Chris Funkhouser performing at 'Open Plan: Cecil Taylor,' Whitney Museum of American Art, April 2016. Photo courtesy of Constellation Funkhouser.

After my first encounter with Cecil Taylor’s work in November 1986, I never would have imagined having a series of extraordinary experiences with him across the decades that followed. Seeing him that first time, a two-hour solo concert during a thunderstorm, I didn’t realize music could exist in such a different aesthetic universe: concert as poem.

After my first firsthand encounter with Cecil Taylor’s work in Charlottesville in November 1986, I never would have imagined having a series of extraordinary experiences with him across the decades that followed.

Paradise now

On Evan Kennedy's 'The Sissies'

Photo of Evan Kennedy (left) by Peter Hochschild.

An alien man-boy, Evan Kennedy. Already starting his poetic career with two pretty good books, then with a giant leap comes the third, Terra Firmament. Now another — this time a mega-leap on all fronts — a book he calls The Sissies. Kicking out the jambs on most fronts, though still in his early thirties, Evan seems to reach full poetic power. The Sissies is as shocking and dismaying as it is ecstatic. Read The Sissies. There’s no poetic genius around these parts today? Read this work and see for yourself! 

I 0we v. I/O

Poetics of veil-piercing on a corporate planet

Pop-up pastoral from Jennifer Scappettone, ‘The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes and Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump’ (Berkeley: Atelos, 2016), 94.

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).” 

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y.

On Etel Adnan's 'The Arab Apocalypse'

From page 7 of ‘The Arab Apocalypse,’ which Etel Adnan began writing in January
From page 7 of ‘The Arab Apocalypse,’ which Etel Adnan began writing in January 1975 in Beirut, two months before the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War.

L’Apocalypse arabe is composed in French by the Arab American poet Etel Adnan. It was published in 1980; Adnan’s English translation appeared in 1989. Of the several rubrics under which The Arab Apocalypse may be read — visual poetry, surrealism, translation, postcolonialism — its work of witnessing most commands my attention. 

Manifest

Sophie Calle, “Exquisite Pain #71.”

List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the Commissioner of Immigration at Port of Arrival
Required by the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, to be delivered to the Commissioner of Immigration by the Commanding Officer of any vessel having such passengers on board upon arrival at a port in the United States[1]

List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the Commissioner of Immigration at Port of Arrival
Required by the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, to be delivered to the Commissioner of Immigration by the Commanding Officer of any vessel having such passengers on board upon arrival at a port in the United States[1]

1. No. on list
49 x 49 (7 x 7 = 49)