PoemTalk

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).

Trance of language (PoemTalk #172)

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

from left: Larissa Lai, Maxe Crandall, Julia Bloch

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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.

Teach us love (PoemTalk #171)

Eugene Ostashevsky, 'Language' and 'The Anatomy of Monotony'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis convened Matvei Yankelevich, Ahmad Almallah, and Kevin Platt at the Kelly Writers House to talk about two poems by Eugene Ostashevsky: “The Anatomy of Monotony” [audio] and “Language” [audio]. They were included in The Unraveller Seasons (2000). The recordings of the two poems we use in this episode come from a 2005 reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, available at Ostashevsky’s PennSound page

Better to lose and win (PoemTalk #170)

Diane di Prima, 'Revolutionary Letters'

From left: Kristen Gallagher, Lee Ann Brown, Laynie Browne

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis and three interlocutors — Kristen Gallagher, Lee Ann Brown, and Laynie Browne — met up at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia to talk about Diane di Prima’s collection (and ongoing project) of quasi-epistolary poems, Revolutionary Letters. The group discussed three poems: #16 (“We are eating up the planet”), #19 (“If what you want is jobs”), and #27 (“How much can we afford to lose before we win”). Di Prima began writing the letters in 1968, and they were first gathered and published by City Lights in 1971. A red-covered fiftieth anniversary edition was issued by City Lights in 2021. Our recordings of di Prima performing these three poems come from various sources and are available at the di Prima PennSound page: for #16 we hear a a recording made in 1969, while for #19 we have undated tape (possibly 1982), and for #27 we hear a performance given at Naropa in 1978.

Far in toward the far end (PoemTalk #169)

George Quasha, 'self fast' and 'that music razors through' (preverbs)

George Quasha at the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, December 2021 (photo by Al Filreis).

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis convened Charles Bernstein, Anthony Elms, and Laynie Browne to talk about two poems by George Quasha. These were selected from Quasha’s most recent collection of his “preverbs.” The book, published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2020, titled Not Even Rabbits Go Down This Hole, consists of eight gatherings of preverbs; our two poems, coming from the final section — which bears the name of the book — are “self fast” (numbered 12; TEXT) and “that music razors through” (numbered 13; TEXT). The recordings we use in this episode can be found on PennSound’s extensive Quasha author page.