Allison Cobb and Brian Teare joined Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm in the Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House on April 2, 2019, following their lunchtime discussion with scholars and poets from Penn’s Poetry and Poetics and Anthropocene and Animal Studies reading groups. Our discussion ranged from human embeddedness in the nonhuman world to the relationship between poetic duration and historiography to the role of affect in poetry that seeks to reckon with the ever intensifying ecodisasters of our time.
Note: Allison Cobb is the author of four books, most recently After We All Died, which was published by Ahsahta in late 2016. Her poetry is invested in locating the self in the landscape of the world, and does so with an eye toward ecology and an ear toward music. Her work incorporates research, considers historical and scientific contexts, and regularly plays with the boundaries of poetry and essay.
Franklinstein began as a mash-up of two classic US texts: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans. It was an inspired move, to juxtapose the plainspoken, aphoristic words of a founding father with the modernist novel written by a Jewish, lesbian expat who sought to dismantle and redefine concepts of “the new world” and literature itself.
It is not every day that after your science-informed literary reading, you, the other writers who read science-informed work, and the audience for the event climb through a dog door into a small, astronomical observatory that was constructed in the art gallery where the reading took place to see a live-feed projection of the dog star Sirius — the brightest star in the night sky and so nicknamed due to its containment in the constellation, Canis Major — from a telescope mounted on the roof of a nearby science education center.