Commentaries - February 2010

Top PennSound poets for January 2010

Most oft-visited PennSound author pages in the past month: 1) Ginsberg, 2) Pound, 3) WC Williams, 4) AshberyMost oft-visited PennSound author pages in the past month: 1) Ginsberg, 2) Pound, 3) WC Williams, 4) Ashbery, 5) Creeley, 6) Olson, 7) Howe, 8) Baraka, 9) Christian Bok, 10) Spicer, 11) Reznikoff Holocaust page, 12) Berrigan, 13) C. Bernstein [60-Second Lecture page].

This last item is the video recording of a 60-second lecture given by Charles Bernstein on the topic, "What Makes a Poem a Poem?" It has a punchline ending, so be sure to watch.


Don't watch out for deer? Don't dine here? Don't slow down?

Saw Christian Bok's mention of this, and then explored it (his tweet) - and am marveling at it. At the Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand, Josef Schulz is exhibiting images of signs that have had all the text removed from them. Have a look.

"Edit" event

The newest event in the EDIT series, created by Danny Snelson for the Writers House, will feature Adachi Tomomi and Tianna Kennedy on The newest event in the EDIT series, created by Danny Snelson for the Writers House, will feature Adachi Tomomi and Tianna Kennedy on February 18. EDIT is a roving events series pairing innovative performances with focused critical responses toward an exploration of editorial strategies in contemporary writing and the arts. For more, listen to this announcement. In the photo: Tiana Kennedy.

Stanley Burnshaw

nuanced commie critic

Stanley Burnshaw, who died at 99 years of age just a few years ago, reviewed Wallace Stevens's Ideas of Order critically in the communist New Masses in 1935. Although Stanley left his association with the Party fairly early (he'd never been a member, so far as I know--and he was always skeptical of aesthetic "lines"), and was very active as a translator and anthologist, and later as a senior editor at Henry Holt, the poetry world forgot about him as he developed his literary portfolio and sensibility. They seemed to prefer Burnshaw, frozen in Depression time, as the angry young lefty, hurling Marxist critique at the insular modernist. But Stanley was right there, all along, to be found and talked to. I came to know him in the 80s and eventually spent many hours at his apartment, with Harvey Teres (then at Princeton, writing a book about Partisan Review). We recorded the interview, then excerpted it and, with Stanley, edited it. Then published it in the Wallace Stevens Journal in 1989. I've been digging around my old things, as readers of this blog will have noted, and found the interview. Made a PDF of it and here it is.

Chicago Poetry Symposium 2010

CHICAGO POETRY SYMPOSIUM 2010: Featuring Stephanie Anderson, Garin Cycholl, Al Filreis, Phil Jenks, Nancy Kuhl, and Don Share. With talks on Alice Notley, Sterling Plumpp, Henry Rago, and Margaret Anderson. When and Where: Saturday, April 17, 2009 | 12:30 p.m. through 5:00 p.m. Special Collections Research Center / The Joseph Regenstein Library / University of Chicago / 1100 East 57th Street / Chicago, IL 60637
Contact: David Pavelich, Bibliographer for Modern Poetry / pavelich [at] /

ABOUT: This event is free and open to the public. The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the University of Chicago Library welcomes you to the third annual Chicago Poetry Symposium, a yearly conversation on the history of Chicago poetry. Held in the University of Chicago Library's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), the event highlights the SCRC's strong archival and book holdings in the history of Chicago poetry, including the papers of Harriet Monroe and her Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Paul Carroll, Chicago Review, Flood Editions, Ralph J. Mills, Jr., Michael Anania, and others.


12:30-12:45: Welcoming remarks

David Pavelich, Bibliographer for Modern Poetry, University of Chicago Library

12:45-1:45: A Discussion on the Work of Sterling Plumpp

"It was very south": the Geography of Chicago and Mississippi in the Poetry of Sterling Plumpp
Garin Cycholl, Instructor in Creative Writing, University of Chicago, and author of several books of poetry
Phil Jenks, poet, author of My first painting will be "The accuser" (2005) and On the cave you live in (2002)

1:45-2:00: Break for refreshments

2:00-3:15: Avant-Garde Editors and their Magazines

Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review
Nancy Kuhl, Curator of Poetry for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Library

Curating Location: Alice Notely and Chicago Magazine
Stephanie Anderson, Doctoral student in the English Department, University of Chicago

3:15-4:30. A Discussion on the Work and Legacy of Henry Rago

Slow Music: The Two Eras of Henry Rago
Al Filreis, Kelly Professor of English; Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House; Director, the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing; and Director of PennSound; University of Pennsylvania

Henry Rago and the Wider Door
Don Share, Senior Editor, Poetry Magazine