Bay Area

Caleb Beckwith and Suzanne Stein in conversation

Note: Caleb Beckwith and I have been corresponding about poetry, poetics, and poetry community since becoming friends sometime in 2015, shortly after he moved to the Bay Area from Philadelphia. Late in 2018, I suggested we have a more formal conversation about his new book, Political Subject, recently released from Roof Books.

Giving way to a knot

Anemal Uter Meck begins with an amnesiac transformation, the “anemal”/animal of the title seen immediately in the dedication “for raptors everywhere,” and in the first lines of the book: “you forget you were someone/something / else. you forget your beak. your.”[1] We may start there, but we certainly do not rest there. Mg Roberts moves quickly between a fistful of strands and conversations, never showing the whole of them.

Against apocalypse

Somewhere along the way, Ron Silliman and his fellow L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets earned the reputation for being heartless.

The thing that doesn't fail

Stephanie Young’s Ursula or University begins, “I guess it’s too late ...” and (nearly) ends, “It can be never for a very, very long time. And then it can be now.” In between, Young hovers and waits, worries and writes, enmeshed in a Bay Area poetry community that, to her, crackles with potential seismic energy she nevertheless fears may forever fail to unleash the earthquake that would justify its pressures and change the topography of power and privilege whose violence mars the utopia she can almost grasp.

Cloud House Poetry Archives

A few days ago, the Poetry Magazine Twitter (@poetrymagazine) tweeted a rather simple link to an excerpt from their February 1964 issue, featuring six poems by Larry Eigner. Tweeting links to poems in old issues is fairly standard practice for @poetrymagazine, but the Eigner feature made me think back to some of the truly great video features on PennSound: The Larry Eigner “Sacred Materials” recordings, and The Cloud House Poetry Archives, which was generous enough to make these recordings of Eigner available.

The “Sacred Materials” consist of three videos: the last public reading given by Eigner on November 17, 1995 (he would pass away a little over two months later on February 3, 1996); the Jewish Ground Ceremony for Eigner on February 6, 1996; and a tour later that day of Eigner's Writing Environs, which shows the mountains of manuscripts surrounding Eigner's typewriter where he painstakingly composed his poems.

Syndicate content