Jess Shollenberger

'An escape from daily pronouns'

S. Brook Corfman’s journal poems and the domestic life of queer gender

Sliver from a pallasite meteorite from Fukang (Xinjiang, China). Image via Wikimedia Commons.

If the self in everyday life is like a jar without a lid, exposed and vulnerable to impacts, tipping over and spilling out, then S. Brook Corfman’s 2020 book My Daily Actions, or The Meteorites, a record of the self in everyday life, endeavors to hold that vessel carefully and watch it overflow: “I traced myself in peppermint oil, for protection. During the storm, each room filled with water, a jar always brimming. An escape from daily pronouns.

That's right (PoemTalk #151)

Eileen Myles, 'Writing' and 'Mount St. Helens'

Photo credit: Roberto Ricciuti


Al Filreis convened Stephen Metcalf, June Thomas, and Jess Shollenberger to talk about two poems by Eileen Myles: “Writing” and “Mount St. Helens.” They appeared in Myles’s book of 2001, Skies, and were included by Myles in their volume of selected poems I Must Be Living Twice. Myles’s PennSound page includes several performances of these poems, including a powerful although understated reading of “Writing” here at the Writers House when they were visiting as a Kelly Writers House Fellow in 2016. The recordings we used for the purposes of our PoemTalk conversation were made during an episode of Charles Bernstein’s interview series “Close Listening” in March of 2009.

The scholar's blush

Shame as method in 'Lyric Shame'

Photo by Anthony Easton, via <a href=
Photo by Anthony Easton, via flickr.

Lyric Shame (2014), a method-driven reappraisal of the mid- to late-twentieth-century “lyric” poem, looks to readers’ shame as an interpretive device. Shame: that blushing state that finds us thinking of what others must be thinking and/or self-caught in the act of wanting something (something others do not think we should be wanting); an awareness of exposure or of being seen by others; a social signpost; a readable heat.

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