Just before his Kelly Writers House reading on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, John Yau spoke with the students in my New American Poetry class, English 288 at Penn. He spoke about a wide variety of topics, including discussion of Further Adventures in Monochrome (first question) and other of his works, poetry and identity, white people playing Asians in Hollywood films, the allure of Humphrey Bogart, and recent poetry convtroversies.
I’ll begin with a playlist of PennSound recordings having to do with letters. While listening to this playlist on repeat, I was interested in the ways the tracks expanded, derailed, parodied, critiqued, or otherwise complicated the idea of intimate address. The addressees include imagined ancestors, public figures, an owl, various abstractions and inanimate objects, as well as the workings of language itself. Recently I’ve been listening to this playlist on random and I keep noticing new connections and contrasts between tracks.