In September 2018 Davy Knittle hosted poet Rodney Koeneke in the Wexler Studio to discuss his book, Body & Glass (Wave Books, 2018). Their conversation touches on Koeneke’s writing process and use of pronouns as a “distancing technique,” the role of poetry — particularly experimental forms — in America today, and how joy might emerge from work about loss. The two also examine the traditions that poetry assembles for itself, drawing comparisons between modernists like Joyce and contemporary poets.
How do we read the work of poets who die young? Recent books by Joan Murray and Max Ritvo have me thinking about the question with a special intensity. Ritvo died of Ewing’s sarcoma in 2016 at just twenty-five, with two posthumous volumes — The Final Voicemails: Poems and Letters from Max — published last year. Murray, who won the Yale Younger Poets award, died at nearly the same age, in 1942; Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry has just been painstakingly edited by Farnoosh Fathi and published by NYRB Poets.
How do we read the work of poets who die young? Recent books by Joan Murray and Max Ritvo have me thinking about the question with a special intensity.
Thanks to the efforts of PennSound staffer Luisa Healey, we are now making available segmented (poem-by-poem) recordings of Rodney Koeneke’s Segue Series reading, given at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City on November 6, 2004.