Commentaries - September 2013

2009 MLA off-site poetry reading (audio)

During the 2009 conference of the Modern Language Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Julia Bloch and Michelle Taransky organized the annual off-site poetry reading. The reading took two hours and 36 minutes and an audio recording was made; for the past several years, this long recording has been available on PennSound’s “MLA Offsite Readings” page. Now PennSound staff editor Anna Zalokostas has segmented the entire recording and we are now able to present the recording of each reader, as follows:

  1. introduction (1:34): MP3
  2. Matthew Landis (2:56): MP3
  3. Rodrigo Toscano (4:14): MP3
  4. Carlos Soto Roman (2:32): MP3
  5. Kim Gek Lin Short (4:51): MP3
  6. Jacob Russell (2:10): MP3
  7. Angel Hogan (2:37): MP3
  8. Ish Klein (3:45): MP3
  9. Gregory Laynor (3:01): MP3
  10. Nava EtShalom (3:50): MP3
  11. Ryan Eckes (1:16): MP3
  12. Sueyeun Juliette Lee (1:52): MP3

Seymour Faust: Two poems recovered & an added fragment (redux)

In a conversation the other day with David Antin, the name of Seymour Faust came up, as it often does for us.  In the distant days when we were all students at City College in New York, Faust was among our few poet companions – a friendship & close association that lasted till some time around 1960, when he & I broke off for personal reasons that now seem trivial in retrospect.  He was certainly present at the time that Antin and I founded Hawk’s Well Press in 1958 & published his Lonely Quarry as the first of a small number of books that I was to continue to

'Eye of Witness': Publication & announcement

Monday (September 16) is the actual publication date for Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, co-edited with Heriberto Yépez & published by Black Widow Press in Boston.  The design of the book follows the layout of my anthologies such as Poems for the MillenniumTechnicians of the Sacred, which makes it different in format from other “readers” & a way of treating the range of works (poetry, prose, performance, plays, poetics, visual, verbal, & vocal, translations & variations) that I’ve been into over the last fifty years, e

Laughing at Ara Shirinyan's 'Your Country Is Great'

Eric Rettberg told me a few months ago about his interest in Ara Shirinyan, and I asked him if he would write briefly about it for this commentary. He agreed, and here is what he has to say. Eric is currently Edgar F. Shannon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Virginia.

The procedure Ara Shirinyan used to write Your Country is Great (2008), in which he went through an alphabetical list of countries, Googled “[country] is great,” and wrote poems from the results, ensures that the book repeats relentlessly. Seemingly empty declarations of greatness abound, from “aaww lol belgium is great =)” (29) to “Finland is great because / Finland is great” (103), and so too do reports of the great recreational activities available in the countries of the world. “The beaches are the bomb” in Costa Rica (70), just as Bulgaria is great “if you want young drunk fun in the sun” and “Cyprus is great for sun and beaches” (49, 78).

Mysteries of the speaking body

In an English translation of a French transcription of a lecture delivered in 1973, Jacques Lacan proposes his ground-changing formulation: ‘Mathematization alone reaches a real’. For Lacan, what this means is that what we thought was fantasy and what we thought was knowledge are now entwined.