Commentaries - March 2014

Clayton Eshleman, from 'PENETRALIA': 'The Dream’s Navel'

For Stuart Kendall

 Gotham Bar & Grill in Manhattan, dining with Caryl, Cecilia & Jim.

At a table near ours, alone, a woman in whose face I saw the face of death.

At one point she turned toward me:

I could only stay in her black ray lane a few seconds.

Francie Shaw, artist's talk (podcast)

A new Kelly Writers House podcast is now out (#36 in our ongoing series). In this podcast, we hear an excerpt from an artist's talk by Francie Shaw, whose show was exhibited in our Brodsky Gallery in the late autumn of 2013. For more about the event, click here. To listen to the podcast, introduced by Allison Harris, click here. For a video recording of the full event, click here.

Michael Palmer's 'Recursus to Porta' (performed 1990)

We at PennSound are beginning to analyze quantities and types of downloads from our archive. From time to time we will have something to say about what we discern in such analysis. For now, this fascinating and not-quite-explainable factoid: since January 1, 2014, one of the five most-oft downloaded MP3 recording from PennSound has been a poem by Michael Palmer, performed at Buffalo in 1990: “Recursus to Porta” (3:34): MP3. And the poet whose PennSound recordings were most frequently downloaded during this time has been Norman Fischer.

Geomantic riposte: 'Mongrel Love'

Co-winner of the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Award and born and raised in Regina, writer Judith Krause is the current and fifth Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, an appointment that acknowledges her having “meaningful connections with other writers and experience organizing occasions for thinking about poetry differently” and that includes her teaching experience at Sage Hill, an inspirational place for visiting writers. In an interview with The Leader Post, Emma Graney indicates that Krause’s main goal is to raise the profile of Saskatchewan poetry and “celebrate the spirit of poets” in the province, despite the genre's “quiet profile.” In her most recent collection Mongrel Love, we may admire her uncanny mix of wry humour and mammalian sympathies that Dante Alighieri would surely agree flow along absolutely caninamente.

Symbolic multiplication

Image I made using Alfred Jarry's equation for the "surface of god"
Image I made using Alfred Jarry's equation for the "surface of god" and NASA's latest picture of the known universe

I often think of quantum mechanics as the most conceptually radical of the breakthroughs in theoretical physics to emerge in the last and current century, in part due to its claim that physical reality cannot be definitively observed. The claim challenges Isaac Newton’s classical mechanics and the scientific method, which assumes that physical reality can be measured without ambiguity, and principles of nature can be determined with certainty.