When a name falls from a face (PoemTalk #173)

Divya Victor, 'Curb'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

For this new episode, Al Filreis convened Timothy Yu (who had traveled to Philadelphia from Madison, Wisconsin, for a day of programs and recordings), Josephine Nock-Hee Park, and Piyali Bhattacharya to discuss a selection of poems from Divya Victor’s book Curb (Nightboat Books, 2021): three poems from the titular “Curb” series in the middle of the book (“Curb” 3, 4, and 5) and another poem, “Frequency (Alka’s Testimony).” We provide the text of these pages here. PennSound’s Divya Victor author page did not yet include any recordings of her performances from Curb, so she generously produced audio just for PoemTalk. These are now, of course, available at PennSound (and below).

'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

Paper cuts, or the costs of legibility

A review of Kimberly Alidio's 'why letter ellipses'

Photo of Kimberly Alidio by Stacy Szymaszek.

why letter ellipses begins for me in the slippery enigma of its title which, through the touch of a gerund to a gerund-esque, yields a kind of aspect perception, where shifts in emphasis can flicker ducks into rabbits. Stressing “letter” as that which can “ellipses,” I hear a desire to explore how speech slides into omission, how text erodes into cracks, gaps, full-blown sinkholes. Conversely, stressing “ellipses” as that which can be “lettered,” I hear a critical question about historiography and its limits: Why write or label what’s been left out?

When we talk about literacy there cannot be / one without concessions. — Simone White

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

Poetry/painting/history/hermeneutics

On 'Cy Twombly: Making Past Present'

‘Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catullus, To the Shores of Asia Minor)’ (installation view), 1994, oil, acrylic, oil stick, crayon, and graphite on three canvases, 157½ × 624" (400.1 × 1585 cm), The Menil Collection, Houston. Gift of the artist. Photographer: Paul Hester. © Menil Foundation, Inc.

For me, that tension between poetry, writing, and drawing is utterly captivating. So much so that I have spent the last two years writing poems that enter into conversations with Twombly’s work, a project I have found both humbling and transformative. In fact, the last real public outing I engaged in before the pandemic lockdown was a visit to the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection in Houston.

Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. — Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation”[1

Violent holidays in Russia

An interview with Kirill Medvedev

A screenshot from our interview with Kirill Medvedev.

Note: Kirill Medvedev’s brief, shocking “On the Day of My Thirty-Seventh Birthday” details what happens to a revolutionary who has just been involved in killing the president. After acting as a lookout and messenger during the assassination, he mistakenly shoots and kills a fan, whom he mistakes for the secret services but who simply wanted an autograph. Facing this revelation, the poet thinks to himself, “Shit … what a missfire. / A tragic missfire, a mistake, / which means the good-for-nothing president / is still alive.”[1

The subterranean baroque of Roger Santiváñez

Photo of Roger Santiváñez by Mito Tumi, via Wikimedia Commons.

This portfolio brings together writing by Peruvian poet Roger Santiváñez’s beginning in the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, or from his book Homenaje para iniciados to his 1991 book Symbol.