Al Filreis hosted Rachel Blau DuPlessis, William Fuller, and Bruce Andrews in the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House for a conversation about Ted Pearson's book-length poem Catenary Odes. The book was first published by O Books in 1987. The poem, or perhaps it is a series of couplet-length poems, covers 44 pages in print; the PoemTalk group discussed the first 11 pages, approximately 40 lines. Our section ends with “the body electric in a brownout / the western mind in a jar.” The recording we play in this episode comes from Pearson’s PennSound page, from an audiotaping of a reading given in the Segue Series at the Ear Inn in New York on December 4, 1993.
Editorial assistant Kendall Owens reviews three strange, experimental poetry titles in this set of capsule reviews: Medusa Beach and Other Poems by Melissa Monroe, Daybreak by William Fuller, and Cosmic Diaspora by Jake Marmer. On Marmer’s book, Kendall writes: Reading Cosmic Diaspora is reading music, as it takes on all of the qualities of improvisational jazz found in its accompanying album, Purple Tentacles of Thought and Desire. Speaking from experience as an immigrant from “the outskirts of the universe — provincial Ukrainian steppes,” Marmer describes how immigrants are stripped of their culture and molded into less “alien” beings: “they lawyered me out of my alien appearance / though couldn’t fix the accent.”