Downgraded to scribble (PoemTalk #178)

Matvei Yankelevich, 'Dead Winter'

From left: Ahmad Almallah, Huda Fakhreddine, and Kevin Platt.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

For this PoemTalk episode about Matvei Yankelevich’s book of poems (or book-length poem), Dead Winter (Fonograf, 2022), Al Filreis convened Kevin Platt, Huda Fakhreddine, and Ahmad Almallah to discuss four poems/sections from the work: “Winter comes calling” (7), “Winter have I lost your thread?” (12), “In a disjunctive age, disconsolate, without connection” (21), and “Winter and one more mine is the other guilt” (27). Our recording of these poems was made by Matvei just for PoemTalk and is available now at his PennSound page. (That PennSound author page, by the way, already includes a video recording of a conversation with Matvei himself about Dead Winter — joined by Kevin, Ahmad, and Al as well as a dozen or so of Ahmad’s students.)

Someone's got to keep this generation honest

Corso editors Raymond Foye and George Scrivani, with William Lessard

Left to right: cover of Gregory Corso’s ‘The Golden Dot’ with photo by Allen Ginsberg; photo of George Scrivani by Raymond Foye; photo of Raymond Foye by Amy Grantham.

The Golden Dot: Last Poems, 1997–2000 (Lithic Press, 2022) is a white-hot summation and extended last word of a poet who was most alone in the company of others and frequently his own worst advocate. The Shelley-infused lyricist, familiar to us from more than a dozen books across forty years, is still in evidence, but there is a newfound clarity and urgency to the work, which is like meeting a long-lost friend after decades apart. 

Note: The youngest foundational Beat is having a revival. After a folio of new poems appeared a few months ago in The Brooklyn Rail, the full collection from which they were excerpted has arrived, and it couldn’t be more of a surprise — and a delight. 

On loss, loss writing, and our forms for living

Illustration by Alfred Concanen from ‘Broadstone Hall, and other poems’ (1875) by William Edward Windus, via the British Library.

I tasked myself with saying one or two things I know about grief and loss and why so many people feel the compulsion to write through them. As an essential motivation for writing, especially poetry, loss events appear to make us both speechless and verbose. I’ve been there, I keep being there. I’ve written a “grief book” a few times now and frankly, I can’t say I find that its product is catharsis or repair. Irritatingly circular, I’d describe it instead — a marathon in a six-inch arena.

Translitigation

A Polish-ish poet on translating a Polish poet

Painting by Grzegorz Wróblewski. Image courtesy of the artist.

Autthor note: Jacket2 has our permission to publish these poems. The original publisher has gone out of business so the rights have reverted back to the author. In turn he has granted me full permission to translate and publish the prose poems of his book Android i anegdota, which translates to An Android and an Anecdote. The working English title is Mr. Z— Peter Burzyński

‘We’ the people

Collective lyric self in twenty-first-century poetry

“Either as poets or as readers, we now realize we are entangled, even when we don’t know what do to with this realization, nor what to call it.” Photo of red bryony tendrils intertwined by hedera.baltica via Wikimedia Commons.

1. First-person otherness

Running the risk of asking the most naïve-sounding question in lyric poetry, what do we make of a contemporary poem in English written in the first person? Whether the first person is singular or plural, how does that choice impact our relationship with the speaker in the poem? And has that relationship changed in the twenty-first century, or is it dictated by our inheritance of modernist ideas and the way they have framed our understanding of the lyric self?

Golden

Camille Roy's 'Honey Mine'

Photo of Camille Roy (right) by Angela Romagnoli.

The title of this new collection tells the reader a lot: Honey Mine. Honey, that viscous product of the hive, both nutrient and excess, sweet and sticky. Mine — the possessive pronoun and noun, as in gold mine.

Among lesbians the story is a form of sex talk — a joint whereby the community and the couple are of the same body (155) 

'Meeting this strangeness'

Katherine Agyemaa Agard's 'of colour'

Image adapted from cover art of ‘of colour.’

of colour commences in an apology. Rather, Katherine Agyemaa Agard suggests her text was born out of a failure to make a film about the African diaspora “or simply our diaspora. My mother and father and brother and sister and me.”[1It’s come to this is the sentiment at the beginning of the text. It’s come to a textual object because another form failed.

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.

The inception of this work is relationship. 

Publishing is not pretty for women of color poets. Undue expectations. The need to speak on behalf of whole communities. Elusive second books. 

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

A review of 'Black Case Volume I and II'

Image courtesy of Blank Forms Editions and After : Still.

Across the decades, the recordings of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as most announcements of their concerts, bore the slogan “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.” Some years ago, in the course of a panel on the Ensemble and their history at the University of Chicago that featured Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, and George Lewis, the subject of that slogan and its origins was broached. Asked why that slogan, Jarman quipped, “nobody ever said it was great.” 

we sing looking to ALL the past future masters
to give us clear vision
healing music, GREAT BLACK MUSIC
where we start from finish start finish[1]