Commentaries - May 2011

On My Eyes: Larry Eigner in 1960

inside Jacket2

I gave a talk on this book as part of Al Filreis's 1960 symposium at Kelly Writers House, Penn.

Digitizing Creeley's reel-to-reel tapes

Robert Creeley and son Will (photo by Bruce Jackson)

Will Creeley sent us at PennSound this great note after hearing a PoemTalk episode about one of his father's poems:

I saw word of this latest episode via PennSound's excellent & useful Twitter feed, and figured it was a good opportunity to say thank you again to Al, Charles and everyone at PennSound & Kelly Writers House for taking in our big cardboard boxes and digitizing the reel-to-reel recordings inside with such care and precision.

Talking with Daniel Borzutzky

I love interviewing brilliant poets. Thanks to Daniel Borzutzky for his generosity in answering my questions about his new THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES, currently on my beachshelf. Re-reading this interview, I realize that one aspect of the work that isn't mentioned is its humor. Yes, amidst everything else, this book is quite hilarious. Please share with your friends.

CSP:  Your new work, THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES (Nightboat Books, 2011), begins with a haunting epigraph from the 9/11 Commission Report: "It is therefore crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination." Can you tell us a little about how you came across this passage and why you chose to quote it? Does it speak to your own aesthetics, or do you see your work as countering this routinization?

DB:  The passage from the 9/11 Commission Report refers to an idea that was stated a lot after 9/11:  that the failure to prevent the attacks on 9/11 was a “failure of the imagination.” 

Prefers serial killer novels to poetry

Some time ago  I wrote about what happened when New York City schools chancellor Harold Levy asked members of the School Board to read and discuss three poems by Wallace Stevens. Now I want to add one of the letters to the editor the Times published in response to their article about Levy's unusual move.