Trance of language (PoemTalk #172)

Harryette Mullen, 'Sleeping with the Dictionary' and 'Dim Lady'

from left: Larissa Lai, Maxe Crandall, Julia Bloch

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An in-person reunion of favorite colloquists after a year of planning: Al Filreis met up with Maxe Crandall (traveling from Oakland), Larissa Lai (having flown in from Calgary), and Julia Bloch (who walked five minutes through campus) — in the Arts Café of the Kelly Writers House. They talked about two prose poems in Harryette Mullen’s collection Sleeping with the Dictionary, published by California in 2002. The poems are “Dim Lady” and the title poem, “Sleeping with the Dictionary.” Our recordings of Mullen’s performance of these two pieces — they can be heard here and here — come from episode #92 (aired in 2005) of Leonard Schwartz’s radio show, Cross Cultural Poetics, an interview/conversation in which Schwartz and Mullen devoted the entire program to Sleeping with the Dictionary.

The delight of this work

Women of color celebrate second books

Clockwise from top left: Seema Reza, Gabrielle Civil, Christina Olivares, Rosamond S. King, Purvi Shah.

*a linked engagement with:
Future Botanic. Christina Olivares. Get Fresh Books, forthcoming 2022

EcoSomatics archive

Field notes from the 2020 EcoSomatics Symposium

Montage of shots from ‘Eco Monsters and Somatic Take-Overs,’ a small outdoor EcoSomatics symposium, Ypsilanti, Michigan, September 2021, shots from a workshop led by Marc Arthur, with symposium participants Charli Brissey, moira williams, Petra Kuppers, Cara Hagen, Stephanie K. Dunning, Stephanie Heit, Biba Bell, Christina Seers-Etters, and Kathy Westwater, all playing with monster addenda, crutch lightsabers, and relational objects.

An assemblage montaged by Petra Kuppers, with Syrus Marcus Ware, Naomi Ortiz, Stephanie Heit, Lori Landau, Carolyn Roy, Christina Vega-Westhoff, Michele Minnick, Denise Leto, moira williams, Catherine Fairfield, andrea haenggi and bull thistle leaf, DJ Lee, Megan Kaminski, Charli Brissey, Bronwyn Preece, Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Rania Lee Khalil, and Madeline Kerslake.

An assemblage montaged by Petra Kuppers, with Syrus Marcus Ware, Naomi Ortiz, Stephanie Heit, Lori Landau, Carolyn Roy, Christina Vega-Westhoff, Michele Minnick, Denise Leto, moira williams, Catherine Fairfield, andrea haenggi and bull thistle leaf, DJ Lee, Megan Kaminski, Charli Brissey, Bronwyn Preece, Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Rania Lee Khalil, and Madeline Kerslake.

Introduction by Petra Kuppers

Gail Scott and Christy Davids

PennSound Podcast #74

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In this PennSound podcast, Christy Davids talks with Montréal writer Gail Scott about her recent release Permanent Revolution (Book*hug Press, 2021), a compilation of new and revised essays, including work that originally appeared in Scott’s foundational feminist text, Spaces Like Stairs (Women’s Press, 1996). 

Life in 'ear'th'

On S*an D. Henry-Smith’s 'Wild Peach'

 Left: b and w portrait of S*an D. Henry-Smith. Right: cover of Wild Peach
Photo of S*an D. Henry-Smith (left) by Ian Lewandowski.

Wild Peach, S*an D. Henry-Smith’s collection of poems and photographs, is atmospheric: its poems hang in a mist at the top of the page. They touch down gently, then cling to the surface for a moment before they soak into my reading skin. There’s a sonic fog to them, a quality of density as alliteration and internal resonances accumulate.

Love and rage

A review of 'We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics'

Image adapted from cover of ‘We Want It All.’

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics is an essential addition to the growing canon of work arriving from Nightboat Books and serves as a kindred successor to Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, the trailblazing 2013 anthology edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. The collection reads like a top salon emceed by editors Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel, whose ambitions for this groundbreaking anthology are laid bare from the start. 

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics is an essential addition to the growing canon of work arriving from Nightboat Books and serves as a kindred successor to Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, the trailblazing 2013 anthology edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. The collection reads like a top salon emceed by editors Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel, whose ambitions for this groundbreaking anthology are laid bare from the start.

'Already free'

A review of 'F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry'

Cover of 'F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry'
Image adapted from front and back covers of ‘F Letter.’

Russia’s new feminist poetry has so fully arrived in the US as to be featured in Time magazine, but that interest from a mainstream publication does not mean that this remarkable work is anodyne or safe. This work can be fierce, hilarious, tender, and sexy. It stretches the boundaries of the poetic, not least when the poets ironically ask, as Stanislava Mogileva puts it in her “Song,” whether the poetry is sufficiently feminist, sufficiently activist, or too personal, too simple, too frivolous, too intense.

'El corno emplumado' and poetry's hemispheric sixties

article
Image adapted from cover of ‘El corno emplumado’ 1.

Before he became Muhammad Ali, the boxer Cassius Clay wrote a few verses protesting the war in Vietnam. He sent them to a new magazine in Mexico City, El corno emplumado/the Plumed Horn, which had begun putting out bilingual issues of writing and visual art by writers from every corner of the Americas. The editor, Margaret Randall, turned down Clay’s “haiku-like poems,” a decision she came to regret.

'Bands Around the Throat,' J. H. Prynne, racial capitalism

Thoughts/directions

article
Image adapted from cover of ‘Bands Around the Throat.’

Author note: What follows is a modified version of a section of my master’s thesis, “Resetting Bands Around the Throat” (University of Sussex, 2020). While some of what is implied below is treated somewhat more fully in the thesis, it itself is still essentially an introduction to a larger set of questions.