Akilah Oliver

Explode for small change (PoemTalk #104)

Editorial note: The following conversation has been adapted from an episode of PoemTalk recorded in 2016 at the Wexler Studio in the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia. The episode features Al Filreis, Yolanda Wisher, Charles Bernstein, and Patricia Spears Jones discussing Akilah Oliver’s poem “is you is or is you ain’t” from Oliver’s collection the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Smoke Proof/Erudite Fangs, 1999).

Explode for small change (PoemTalk #104)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis brought together Yolanda Wisher (Monk Eats an Afro; the new poet laureate of Philadelphia), Charles Bernstein (Pitch of Poetry; codirector of PennSound), and Patricia Spears Jones (Lucent Fire: New & Selected) to talk about a poem by Akilah Oliver. It’s a prose poem to be found (on pp. 43–44) in Oliver’s book the she said dialogues: flesh memory (1999) and is reproduced here below: “is you is or is you ain’t.” PennSound’s Akilah Oliver author page includes a recording of her performing this poem during a Segue Series reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York on January 6, 2007.

Queering racialized bodies

I find myself going back into the past. In absence.

 What haven’t I looked at thus far? What remains

 (mostly) unquestioned in examining what queer

 representations are? Race. Ethnicity. My white skin.

 I must dig deeper.

Jacket 27 feature: Anne Waldman

[»»] Introduction: by Alan Gilbert and Daron Mueller
From the Introduction:
The essays included in this Anne Waldman feature were selected from presentations given at a symposium honoring the University of Michigan Special Collections Library’s acquisition of Anne Waldman’s archive. Entitled “Makeup on Empty Space: A Celebration of Anne Waldman,” the symposium was held at the University of Michigan from March 13–15, 2002. It included over twenty poets, scholars, publishers, and artists participating in both panels and poetry readings. Andrei Codrescu’s “Who’s Afraid of Anne Waldman?” served as the keynote speech for the symposium.
[»»] Maria Damon: Making the World Safe for Poetry (or, How Is Anne Waldman Different from Woodrow Wilson?)
[»»] Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Anne Waldman: Standing Corporeally in One’s Time
[»»] Alan Gilbert: Anne Waldman Changing the Frequency

Plus this

I want to backtrack a bit and link to some recordings related to earlier commentaries. Rather than update the older posts, I’ll periodically add new tracks to expand previous playlists. I’ll also make some new unthemed playlists of singles segmented from longer recordings that I came across while browsing PennSound’s reading series pages.

Additions and updates:

Listen to Prageeta Sharma read an epistolary excerpt from her book Bliss to Fill recorded at the Belladonna Series in 2000. Read about and hear other recordings related to letters in an earlier post, Dear Pennsound.

Listen to Sina Queryas read Numb is more natural, from her book Lemon Hound, at a 2006 Belladonna Series reading. Hear the entire reading. Read about and hear other recordings related to questions in the post, What is a question?

Not a luxury

"there are no words that adequately describe anything; they signify the already multiple layered stains of history's concrete (cement)/stone {steel}...who said we need to be recognized or seen for what we are? we already know we are held in a position at the end of a barrel, knife, the courts, and/or state sponsored violence...what I am talking about is the flux of absence,  not having the words and using the absence to speak of speaking without a language..." (kari edwards, iduna)

El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra
Nos la ahogaron adentro
Como te (asfixiaron),
Como te
desgarraron a ti los pulmones
Y el dolor no se me aparta
sólo queda un mundo
Por el silencio de los justos
Sólo por tu silencio y por mi silencio, Juanelo.

El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra, es mi último poema, no puedo escribir más poesía...la poesía ya no existe en mi.

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