Commentaries - April 2017

Dennis Tedlock: Six more poems from 'Alcheringa'

[On my way to Buffalo to celebrate the life & work of Dennis Tedlock, with whom I founded Alcheringa in 1970 & launched what we were already calling ethnopoetics, I thought to post this selection of his own poems which we were first able to show in the pages of that magazine.

Crowdsourced close reading: Four members of the ModPo community discuss Clark Coolidge's (and Charlie Parker's) 'Blues for Alice'

Anika Lani and Raymond Maxwell during the November 1, 2015 discussion for ModPo

One of many collaborations you’ll find in ModPo’s collection of crowdsourced close readings: Raymond Maxwell, Colleen Knight, Anika Lani, and Mark Snyder meet by GoogleHangout to discuss Clark Coolidge’s “Blues for Alice” (in the context of Charlie Parker and more): link to YouTube. (Note that the discussion starts at 5:35.) If you are enrolled in ModPo (free; enroll here), go to the ModPo CCCR (“Community Crowdsourced Close Readings”) syllabus here.

Frank Kuenstler: Two poems from 'The Enormous Chorus,' with an introduction by Michael O’Brien

[In an effort to rescue poems & poets from the last century who may otherwise be lost in the rush & crush of time, I will be reposting a number of works originally published only in the blogger version of Poems and Poetics. The intent of these excerpts from Frank Kuenstler’s oeuvre was to celebrate the publication in 2011 of his posthumous book The Enormous Chorus (Pressed Wafer), by posting Michael O’Brien’s Introduction and two of Kuenstler’s poems.

First reading of Lorine Niedecker's 'Popcorn-can cover' (2)

Ross Hair

Popping with a flurry of consonantal k sounds (“Popcorn-can cover”) that settle down in the poem’s successive lines (“screwed,” “cold” and, finally, “can’t”), “Popcorn-can cover” reminds me that Niedecker’s is a poetry of pressure. Not only the pressure of brevity but also of everyday existence.

Popcorn-can cover
screwed to the wall
over a hole
       so the cold
can’t mouse in
          — Lorine Niedecker

Rootless places: Núñez, Queyras, Dunham

Orchid Tierney

J2 reviews editor and commentator Orchid Tierney reviews tasks by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Barking & Biting by Sina Queyras, and Cold Pastoral by Rebecca Dunham. Of tasks she writes, in part: “Núñez’s poems chronicle the peripheries of a Cuban homecoming while exploring the porousness of identity and nationalism so marked by a feeling of loss. ‘[I]dentity lurks,’ writes Núñez, ‘like a forgotten ring in a public bathroom.’ These poems are lucid, nomadic but not driftless in local memory as they prowl the geographies of migrant return and exile.”

J2 reviews editor and commentator Orchid Tierney writes on three poetry titles from this year and last.